2 Evening Questions: When Will the Wind Stop? What About Ice/Snow?

December 10, 2017

8pm Sunday

I was in 3 different public places today in the Gresham/Troutdale area.  The question was the same :  “I’m tired of the wind; I hate it.  WHEN is it going to stop?”

Answer:  Friday the cold east wind will be gone.   Bonus:  At least it won’t be quite as strong Tuesday-Thursday.

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Today was day #4 of strong easterly wind across the central/eastside metro area.  That doesn’t count the previous day (Wednesday) when it wasn’t as strong out there, but everyone in the metro area saw at least SOME wind.  It appears there will be 3-4 more strong east wind days.  I drove by the Vista House wind sensor today; it’s bent a little more back against the building and far from horizontal.   There were plenty of people walking (stumbling & crawling) around though!

Wind Metro Peak Gusts East Wind

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Cross-Cascade pressure gradient is now the strongest we’ve seen so far for this event at 8pm.  Over 12 millibars from Portland to The Dalles.  The wind is just as strong now as anytime since Thursday and will remain in the same range through at least midday Monday.
  2. There have been power outages that come & go as more trees fall.  Expect more of those tonight and Monday, then fewer downed trees with more reasonable wind Tuesday.
  3. Peak gusts continue in the 70-80 mph range in Corbett area and 45-60 mph range in “upper” Troutdale.  I see two home weather stations have gone over 50 mph up there today.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen it gust above 80 mph on multiple days at that Corbett sensor that has been in place for 4/5 years.  This is an unusual event even for such a windy place.
  4. The weather we’ve seen this weekend continues through Thursday for all of us…valley sun, mountain warmth, & a mild coastline.
  5. There is no sign of a stormy weather pattern, lowland snow/ice, or flooding in the next 7-10 days.  Our slow start to storm season ’17-’18 continues.

Check out those morning lows in the calm locations…some of these are the coldest of winter so far:

Looking farther ahead…I’m confident we’ll be back to showers/rain/clouds/mild temps by Friday. Of course then the question is:

IS THERE A CHANCE WE GET FREEZING RAIN OR SNOW DURING THE TRANSITION BACK TO WET & MILD?

Answer:  A very small chance, it’s unlikely we get ice/snow this time around…whew!

All models are in great agreement that a cold front swings through here in Friday.  That reverses the pressure gradient quickly.  In fact I expect a mild & gusty WESTERLY wind through the Gorge by Friday afternoon.  This is not the usual ice-storm setup with a low coming up from the southwest.  In this case the front is sweeping in straight from west to east.  It wouldn’t be cold enough for snow anyway since the air overhead will be very mild.  At this point models show some weak precipitation arriving Thursday night and early Friday.  Assuming we don’t drop down to freezing Thursday night we’ll be too warm in the metro area for freezing rain.  Assuming precipitation makes it into the Gorge early Friday morning and the wind hasn’t reversed yet, there could be a very brief period of freezing rain out there (central/east Gorge only).  Lots of assumptions though.  I’d give the chance of freezing rain in the metro area about 10% right now and a 50/50 chance of something brief in the Gorge.  So again, this isn’t the setup for an ice/snow event in our area.  Don’t change any of your plans for Friday.  It’s most likely we just have some light rain and Friday ends up around 48 in the afternoon.

Beyond that some snow will likely fall in the Cascades Friday (a little) and then rain or a mix of rain/snow at the ski resorts over the weekend.  Another shot of snow is likely the early part of NEXT week and then…the bad news…models are pushing another warm ridge overhead as we head into Christmas weekend.  That’s almost two weeks away.  Here’s the ECMWF ensemble average of 500mb heights on Christmas Day.  Don’t place bets on a snowy Christmas!

 

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen