Strong Gorge Wind Returns This Weekend

8pm Thursday…

Sunday-Tuesday gave us quite the wake-up call; “East Wind Season” has arrived.   We are in a 3 day break (through Friday), but that wind will come roaring back for a longer stay starting Saturday

Why?  It’s because upper-level high pressure is developing again just offshore, blocking weather systems from entering the Pacific Northwest.  At the same time a cold airmass will be dropping down into the northern Rockies and northern Great Plains. Cold air is dense and heavy = high pressure.  Here’s the surface map for 10am Friday.  Light wind through the Gorge, and most of the region 

But you see the cold air (blue colors) gathering to the north?  That associated with much higher surface pressure up there.  That cool/dry air sweeps south through Eastern Washington and just 20 hours later (Saturday AM) is bottled up east of the Cascades.  This is a repeat of what we saw last weekend.  Maybe even a touch colder, it’s occurring a week further into the cool/inversion season.  Looks like maybe a 6-8 millibar gradient through the Gorge.

The 1.33 km WRF-GFS model shows the widespread gusty easterly wind across almost the entire metro area Saturday afternoon.  Saturday should be a very windy day across the area.  This initial wind Saturday will be a mix of “downslope” and “gap” wind.  Expect gusts 30-45 over the hills and east metro, up to 30 mph anywhere else in the metro area.

Then on Sunday you can see the typical “gap wind” look to that surface high pressure east of the Cascades.   Again about 8 millibars easterly gradient across the Cascades; similar to last weekend’s forecast.

At this point the cool/cold air has settled in east of the Cascades and temperatures begin warming overhead.  The high pressure has become a “closed high” in the Columbia Basin. You can usually assume the wind will be concentrated more closely around the west end of the Gorge and east metro area at this point.  Of course hilltops too.

By Sunday/Monday we should be seeing gusts 60-70 mph in the western Gorge again with gusts 40-50 right around Troutdale/Camas/Washougal metro areas.  At the same time wind backs off for the rest of us.  It should look about like this down at Rooster Rock State Park  

Temperatures will be dropping Sunday-Tuesday in the Gorge & metro area with that chilly easterly flow. 

Highs will drop into the upper 40s by Tuesday (mid 40s near the Gorge) here in Portland and into the mid-upper 30s in the Gorge.  It’ll be a chilly wind once again! 

This setup continues through at least Tuesday, possibly Wednesday/Thursday too, depending on which model you prefer.  We’ll have to be on the lookout for freezing rain in the central/eastern Gorge again next Wednesday/Thursday if the ECMWF & GEM are correct bringing in precipitation at that time.  

By the way, models are showing a wetter pattern for at least a few days beginning Wednesday.  Yet they still look “splitty” and weak.  I don’t think we’re entering a big pattern change, but at least we’re headed toward some more normal wet weather for the long Thanksgiving Weekend.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

59 Responses to Strong Gorge Wind Returns This Weekend

  1. K says:

    Models teased and hyped me up for what is looking like a series of unimpressive and boring storms. I don’t believe this will be the exciting weather many of us are waiting for.

    • K says:

      Actually, Thursday’s storm is still looking interesting. I was overreacting, most models are showing a very cool occluded front.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Hehe, this is just baby steps. The 18Z GFS was a little off but it’s just one run. I think we will have a better understanding when the 00Z Euro comes out. The 00Z GFS will be starting at 7:30pm. Hopefully the run will be a little better. 🙂

  2. K says:

    I don’t think we’ll have a storm on Thursday, tbh. Oh well.

  3. Roland Derksen says:

    Clear skies and 49F (with light winds) this afternoon. That’s about as fine as it ever gets here in mid- november. I really don’t care what the models are saying now- this November has been quite a sunny surprise despite the amount of rain.

  4. Jake in Gresham says:

    I really hope the Euro doesn’t come to fruition. It puts the low pressure well North into BC and shows a ridge of high pressure developing as a block. Last 2 runs. Terrible.

    The Canadian (for what it’s worth) the last 3 runs shifted from being in agreement with the Euro to the GFS on bringing the low pressure much farther South.

    At one point (about 4 runs ago) the Canadian actually brought the low all the way into mid Willamette valley / Oregon. That’d give us some kind of snow event for sure. Nothing has shown that as well, however.

    NAM will come into view on the next run giving us Friday. Really curious what it gives. Last run showed signs of agreement with the GFS & GDPS but anything is game this far out.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I think we will have more of an idea when we get closer to the event.

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        All I know is the Euro is king. The GFS is the cool kid (always wants to show something awesome) and the Canadian is the ninja (gives a good clue between the two but you never know).

        I tend to follow the Euro since it’s the mid range model with the GFS and Canadian being long range anyway. I then fellow in on the NAM.

        But this for sure is giving all models a real tough time. Real tough because the weather has been so different from the shift being shown. I think they’re all playing catch up and are somewhat side swiped.

        At least I hope so. Either that can lead to a surprise. Or the Euro is right. I hope the Euro isn’t right!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          We have 4 days to see what the models will say. One thing I have learned is when they show a good storm then it just fizzles out. In the next two days things will come together 🤗😉

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Oh I’ve seen in fall apart in a 48 hour window. And I’ve also seen the 2008 storm hold all 3 weather models together for 10 days! Train time.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Hehe, I hope things stay together for a good wind storm 🙂 I think everyone will be riding the models the next couple days…lol.

  5. Ken in Wood Village says:

    It’s hard to say what we will get on Thursday for now. What was interesting to me on the 06Z GFS is the storm goes and hits the most Northern tip of Vancouver Island and stalls out. It does give us winds around 50 mph but for a very brief time. The Euro brings the low a little further North and we still get winds around 50 mph for a longer period of time. I’m guessing we will need to wait until it gets closer and the models have a better handle on things.

    What I do see in the models is we will be entering a active pattern finally. Hopefully it will stay active!!

  6. K says:

    Something is off. The meteograms for GFS give Salem, Seattle, and Eugene gusts above 60, but only 30 for PDX, which is strange. Must be the orientation of the front or something. But I think we can assume Thursday will be breezy/windy (depending on how models trend, EURO gives PDX gusts of 50-55), and rainy too.

  7. K says:

    I do not think we have a windstorm coming on Friday, though many runs are actually showing some gusty winds (00Z showed 45-60 gusts south of PDX, Salem and Eugene get those). But who knows, this system is (as I have said many times) quite dynamic and runs keep changing the position and where the winds are. Last run we were going to get 60 mph gusts, the run before 35 mph gusts, and so on. It’ll change.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We’ve got Rob commenting? Something must be on the horizon!

    Hey, Rob!

  9. 00z runs might be fun tonight! All eyes around that Friday time frame. Will we see just breezy conditions or something more significant? It all depends on how deep the trough is offshore, how close the axis is to the coast, and if the energy is consolidated rather than splitty. We could possibly be facing a wind storm before weeks end and we are certainly overdue for a major regional wind storm. We have dodged that bullet repeatedly since the Hanukkah Eve Windstorm of December 2006. For others it would have been the Major wind storm of December 1995. Will 2018 be the year we no longer escape this? I dunno! We’ll see.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      LOL, cliff hanger…hehe. I will say this, if we could get some of the jet stream energy to reinforce the storm then we could be looking at a good wind storm. We’ll see 🙂

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Wow, now that is a storm. Could we have a major wind storm for Thanksgiving??

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Sorry, I was looking at the wrong chart. I’m not sure if we will get a major wind storm now…LOL. Getting ahead of myself here…lol

      • K says:

        The 18Z and 12Z, as well as last night’s 00Z all showed gusts well over 35 mph. I think it could be a dynamic storm system, for sure.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          I don’t have access to a good Euro right now. What does it look like for Friday? I see a 970 something low on the top tip of Vancouver Island. I think it could be to far North to give us some strong winds but I can’t really tell from the model I’m looking at right now.

  10. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I think I’ll be watching the models really closely around Thanksgiving. Euro and GFS have been showing the possibility of a wind storm. I think you will like it K 🙂

    • K says:

      For sure. The ensembles are also doing okay, as they have been hovering with a low hitting Vancouver Island for a while.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Yea, both models have been hinting at this for a couple of days. I know it’s still 5 days out but it’s better than 10…lol. But things still can change a lot between now and than. It’s just a wait and see thing now.

  11. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I just looked at the 06Z GFS. If we go by what the run says, it looks like we could be finally turning a corner. Like Rob said, “The first real powerhouse 200kt consolidated jet develops off Japan extending eastward towards 170-160 W.” I agree with Rob. With the jet stream finally consolidated and being a powerhouse it’s sending storm after storm our way. That’s if nothing changes.

    The 12Z GFS is coming out now so I’m hoping nothing changes. We’ll see 🙂

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I don’t know what to say right now. I was looking at the 12Z GFS (which is not done yet) but at hour 132 (00Z Friday the 23rd) there is a Low that goes up to Vancouver Island and the pressure is 969mb. Could we actually have a wind storm coming?? Interesting indeed.

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        That may actually bring us snow if it drops South enough. The last GFS put it square over Astoria which is a 50/50 for us on what I can recall of past weather systems. I am for sure hoping this North to South pattern confirms. But we all know the saying. Just 10 days away!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          LOL, yea…I hate the 10 day away thing…lmao 🙂

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Oh, I just remembered. A couple of runs ago, the GFS did give us a wind storm but that time it was actually on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a little interesting…hehe

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Really, no way?! Yea this latest GFS run gives us a proper storm. Nothing extreme but for sure November. Now South with it! I want to shovel!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          LOL, can you imagine if we saw snow in the Portland area. Everyone would freak out. Running to the store and the local tire store for studded tires…lol. That would be something to see…lmao 🙂

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          If the next Euro run shows this High pressure pushing off BC and onshore just North of Vancouver island. Yea, I’m done. Count me on the train:

  12. Jake in Gresham says:

    Man if this verifies. Look at the energy going into Northern California. Nothing major (just your typical rainstorm) but for that region this would be huge. For us I’m hoping that 528 line drops South (colder air) pronto and we get the goods for black Friday!

    The Euro takes the weather system into Puget Sound and kind of poo poo’s over all of it. Come on! 😛

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      LOL, sounds like someone is a little excited…hehe. I just posted my thoughts about the 06Z GFS. I’m liking it…lol. The 12Z GFS is coming out now. One thing I’m liking is the fact about the Jet Stream. It’s finally consolidating and streaming across the Pacific and into us. Hopefully this will verify. Good morning Jake…lol

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        Oh I am done with this mild smoke murky weather! Done, dun! Last weekend got the flu. This weekend I got the cold.

        Cold, humid, bitter atmosphere I desire to keep all these bugs away! To kombucha and, snow!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Sorry about the flu and the cold 😦 I got the flu shot just so I don’t have issues. I am hoping we finally get into a stormy pattern too. I posted something at the top. I’m looking at the 12Z GFS. It got very interesting at hour 132.

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Yeah. Ahem. I got the shot last year. No flu. This year I was like, “I am a marathon runner now!” Me tough! In bed for two days.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          That sucks. I’ve been there. If you ask anyone, I’m a big baby when I’m sick…lol. That’s why I get the flu shot…lmao 🙂

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Oh I was done for sure and received the award from many a family member that saw me. Lol!

  13. Hey, bloggers. Been awhile. Finally a pattern change looks likely, but does ridging resume thereafter, or something more persistent. Models might turn very interesting near Thanksgiving. December will be our month!

    • K says:

      Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever formally talked to you on here, but I sure know of your insight and knowledge on wind events and storms of all sorts. I hope your arrival is the harbinger to some interesting weather real soon!

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Aye long time no see. Morning and I see someone wants a 2008 repeat heh heh heh. 😛

  14. Ken in Wood Village says:

    The 00Z GFS is a little interesting. I do see the jet stream gets really strong later in the run but that’s if it verifier’s.

    • Yeah, Ken. The first real powerhouse 200kt consolidated jet develops off Japan extending eastward towards 170-160 W.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Why, thank you Rob. It has been awhile since I have seen a post from you. Have you been busy or just waiting for something interesting to happen…hehe.

        Yea, the past couple of storms have been very weak because of the jet stream being so weak. If the jet stream stays strong, maybe we could get some really powerful storms to hit the PNW and K can get off my back (just kidding K, just thought I would get in a little humor in…lol) Here is to hoping we can get into a stormy pattern so US weather geeks can talk about the weather on this cool blog.

        Good to see you again. I love hearing what you have to say about the weather 🤗🌧🌬

  15. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I thought someone would have said something about the 12Z Euro!! I was just looking at it and it looks like we could have some really good winds on Thursday. Hmmmm 🙂

  16. Roland Derksen says:

    sunshine is back here again. I love it. We’re running above average in the rainfall department.

  17. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Rapidly switching to offshore flow now:

  18. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Here comes the cold air! Cut Bank, Montana started the day in the low 40s, and is currently 17 with a wind to almost 40 mph.

  19. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Joshua and K, I would take a look at the 12Z GFS. It’s still running but you should look at the 204 hr. It does start giving us moisture this coming Wednesday. I also see it on the 00Z Euro. I hope the models keep this up. 🙂

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Yea, the 12z operational GFS is juicy. The ensembles aren’t as good. It looks like we will get at least some rain next week.

  20. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Just looked at the 06Z GFS (the 12Z is running right now). It’s looking a lot better. I was very interested with what happens with the temps close to the end of the run. Maybe we could be getting into a more active pattern. Let’s hope so 🙂

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    I’m calling a wild January in the PNW

  22. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Dry first half of November!

    For the first 15 days of November (at my station in BG), this year I have measured 1.09″ of precip.

    The average is 2.61″, so we are well below average.

    The next driest year was 2012 with 1.75″. That November went on to be the 3rd wettest I’ve recorded, so things can change in a hurry!

    • Roland Derksen says:

      One of my driest Novembers ever was in 2000: Had only 1.03 inches up to and including the 24th. Then it got wetter for the last 6 days -sort of. That following winter (2000-01) was a dry one as well.

  23. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Thank you for the update Mark. I guess I will be up at Crown Point again. I have been looking at the models and like you said, we could finally be getting some rain next week. I’m not sure if it will be the start of a rainy pattern but we can only hope.

    I will admit, I am looking at the 00Z GFS right now (it’s not done yet) but I liked the storm coming into the PNW on the 23rd.


    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Ok, on the 28th and to the end of the run on the 00Z GFS is a little bonkers. It just went crazy with a ridiculously massively High pressure system. I thought I heard the GFS drinks…lol.

    • K says:

      What a fantastic run. Possible gusty winds for the area along with rain, heavy rain for NoCal/Southern Oregon, heavy rain for the rest of California too along with strong winds as well. A near perfect run.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        I liked it too but the very end was a little ridiculous though. Let’s just hope the GFS keeps the storm for next week. 😉🌧

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