Dry & dangerous easterly wind arriving this morning as planned power outages begin

10am Friday…

The forecast is turning out as expected this morning. Cool Canadian air (cool by early September standards) has surged south into Eastern Washington and Oregon. That’s dense, heavier air = higher pressure. That air is surging over the Cascades and through the Columbia River Gorge; the dreaded late summer “east wind pattern”. This is always a problem over/west of the Cascades if fuels are dry and that’s the case this year…no rain for most of us in two months. If we would have seen showers a few days ago this pattern would not be a big issue; each early fall is different. Last year wasn’t a problem.

Portland General Electric has 10 Public Safety Power Shutoff areas and several of those have been turned off as of 10am. Yellow = no power right now.

(KPTV)

My power was shut off around 5:15 this morning, so this is one of the few weather blog posts written under the power of my trusty portable generator.

KEY POINTS

  • We do NOT have a windstorm on the way…this is nothing like Labor Day 2020
  • This is a relatively normal early fall season easterly wind episode, which still means plenty of wind
  • BUT, this is the first time that power companies have decided to implement widespread power shut offs, thus the big news story.
  • These shutoffs only affect 3-4% of all PGE customers! These are mainly very rural/forested areas.
  • Easterly wind will pick up in the hills/mountains the rest of today and peak tonight/Saturday morning in those areas. Gusts could reach 30-45 mph at times in exposed foothill locations
  • Easterly wind will be strongest this afternoon in the lowlands, die down tonight, then be gusty again through Saturday morning. Gusts 25-35 mph are likely in most populated areas during this time.
  • All easterly wind (and extreme fire danger) ends around sunset or so Saturday evening. THIS EVENT WILL BE OVER IN 36 HOURS
  • Expect to smell smoke at times along with a hazy/yellow/orange sky through tomorrow

I can smell smoke this morning at home, due to Canadian and Eastern Washington wildfires. That northeast wind is sending their “smell” our way. Please don’t call 911 because you smell smoke. There is a lot of smoke now moving around the region due to numerous fires..this will be with us through tomorrow

(KPTV)

Smoke forecasts show not just high-level smoke (yellow sky), but it’ll be getting mixed into the lower levels the next 36 hours. Air quality is headed downhill. Note lots of smoke from Idaho and NE Oregon fires making it west of the Cascades on Saturday

(KPTV)

Smoke modeling loops/imagery is available all summer/fall long on our FOX12WEATHER app…make sure you have that on your phone or device.

(kptv)

As mentioned above, so far PGE hasn’t activated all the power shutoff areas. That’s likely due to the relatively weak wind so far. I see Pacific Power has NOT shutdown any areas at this point. That’s good…no need to shut things down until a gusty/dry wind shows up. Check out Niagara weather station (in the North Santiam Canyon). East wind has arrived, but not too strong. Humidity IS way down…in the teens. Notice this is one of dozens of new weather stations installed in forested/foothill locations by the utility companies. Great information for meteorologists AND the public

(KPTV)

That’s it for now. We have a wide choice of newscasts to watch either on your TV or online https://www.kptv.com/livestream/

You can catch me there all late afternoon and evening long!

22 Responses to Dry & dangerous easterly wind arriving this morning as planned power outages begin

  1. tim says:

    Light rain currently thanks to tropical storm kay .

  2. Opie says:

    Here’s the latest on the Cedar Creek fire:
    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/8307/71669/

  3. Roland Derksen says:

    Smoke is quite noticeable aloft here now- I see a brownish cloud layer moving in from the south. Hate to see it- reminds me of some past summers.

  4. tim says:

    It’s looking fairly wet next weekend especially for western wa, it will be nice to see green grass again.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Uhhhh… it was for a couple of runs, but the 12z suite abolished that idea.

      Total PDX rain through next weekend:

      GFS: .01’’
      GEM: 01’’
      ECMWF: <.05’’

      That ain’t gonna make the grass green. Washington is similiar.

      Monday looks wet in Washington only on the Euro.

  5. JohnD says:

    We went to Nye Beach/Newport yesterday—along with a lot of other people!
    It was officially 90’ in Newport.
    Absolutely exotic.
    A rare treat for the Oregon Coast!

  6. JohnD says:

    Interesting that during the last few days, PDX has experienced (3) 89’ high temperatures.
    Today will be our 29th day @ 90’+
    Had we achieved 90’ on those 3 recent 89’ days, we would have set an all time record for the most 90’+ days here—at 32 days.
    Alas, the “woulda-coulda-shoulda” syndrome…in weather as in sports!😊

  7. Opie says:

    Weather.com currently has a high of 99 for Salem today. I’m pretty sure that’s not taking the smokey skies into account. My guess is upper 80’s.

  8. West Linn 200 says:

    This marks a third consecutive crappy weekend for me. I’ve been working my butt off and can’t even enjoy the weekend, but I guess that pales in comparison to the people having to evacuate. I got family that will most likely have to evacuate soon. The wildfire in Gifford Pinchot makes me very sad as well.

    I hope you all are safe and not affected by the evacuations!

  9. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    72 at PDX right now. Ewwwww

  10. Patrick says:

    You news people who are so dramatic, is your own personal power shut off, are you kidding me? Why are you brewing resentment against the governor? It’s going to backfire, meaning fires will get started anyway, unless the power is turned back on, pretty easy to figure out

    • Spongebob says:

      Your name is perfect. It matches your intelligence so well.

    • I love your logic. “fires will get started anyway”
      Power companies prevented more fires from starting with their safety shutoffs. The governor supported their decision, but turning it off wasn’t her call.

  11. Patrick b says:

    I feel sorry for the bicycle riders who will feel the wrath of browns decision to shut the power off of good Americans, apparently that’s the only way to get through to her.

  12. Opie says:

    There’s a fire right now in the south Salem hills, with go now evacuation orders for those living within a two mile radius. Especially scary because the area is so heavily forested.

    Also a fire in the Goat Rocks.

  13. 85F at my place currently; max. gust today E17.

  14. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently, windy at times, 73 degrees.

  15. OC550 says:

    Scary considering our recent past (2020). Hoping new fires don’t ignite. I applaud PGE for turning off the power in high risk areas although I’m sure it is a big inconvenience for people living there. Stay safe!

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