Gorge Wind Storm Dying Down

December 11, 2017

9pm Monday…

The most damaging east wind storm in the western Gorge the past 9 years is finally ramping down this evening…slowly.

Pressure gradients from Portland to The Dalles have dropped dramatically from 12 millibars earlier to only 7.3 now.  Generally the higher the number the stronger the wind.

Capture

Windspeed has been slow to respond, but it should continue to drop tonight and be in a more manageable and typical 50-60 mph range tomorrow through Thursday.  Maybe even lighter if we get lucky.

We haven’t seen such high wind for several days since the January 2009 event.  Take a look at the past 7 days down at Rooster Rock:

Mark Gorge Wind 7 Day Gusts

I don’t have all the numbers from Corbett but they were similar, peaking around 80-88 for several days.  Keep in mind that in most winters at that location gusts above 75 are rare.  Last year I think it hit 80 or 82 once.

The Vista House wind sensor is gone.  It was beat up for a few days and then wasn’t there when I drove by this morning.  Probably out in Troutdale somewhere…note the last few wind reports around sunrise.  It made one last stand at 7:06am and then that was it.

VistaHouseLastWind_12_11_17

The damage hit home today when a friend’s home was demolished by a fir tree last night.  While she was sleeping the tree crashed into her home,  impaling her in the abdomen.  She is still in the hospital and I pray for a speedy recovery.  I do know she’s a tough one!  I’ve always considered the east wind a nuisance (enough to move a couple of miles out of it) and somewhat interesting since it brings ice/snow, but that’s it.  This is the first time I’ve seen someone nearly die from that wind.  It gives you a different perspective as a forecaster…

This is the first time since that 2009 event we’ve seen lots of trees have falling for 3-5 days on homes, powerlines, and roads in a relatively small area up there.  It’s interesting windspeeds have NOT been exceptional in the Troutdale/Gresham area…just incredibly annoying.  That’s different from the 2009 event when the 60 mph gusts spread all the way out to Orient/Gresham/Troutdale areas.  But the weather setup has been the same otherwise:  A sharp upper-level ridge, extremely warm overhead airmass, and 10-12 millibar easterly gradient through the Gorge.

Looking ahead, the wind is still expected to stop Thursday night.  West wind will be breezy through the Gorge Friday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen