Gusty east wind returns for most of us Thursday

10pm Wednesday…

Just about ALL of the metro area will be much windier tomorrow…watch out for flying garbage cans! You can expect a few scattered power outages too…just a few.

Strong high pressure east of the Cascades plus a sharp temperature inversion (warmer air over cooler air in lowlands) led to a very strong easterly wind through the Gorge today. Peak gusts exceeded 90 mph at both Crown Point and Rooster Rock. Gusts over 70 mph rocked the town of Corbett too, at the high end up what is typically experienced at both locations in the cold season. A person standing “at the rail” on those south-facing steps at Vista House certainly would have recorded gusts in the 100-120 mph range today.

Most interesting is that the cross-Cascade pressure gradient (difference in pressure between Portland and The Dalles), only peaked around 9 millibars. I would have expected lower gusts with that gradient. The key is that we have a strong inversion overhead. It was 53 today at 7,000′ at the top of Magic Mile chairlift on Mt. Hood. In a perfectly mixed atmosphere (warm season), high temperatures should have been around 80 down here at sea level! But it’s not perfectly mixed because days are so short and the sun is in its very weak winter position in the sky. Cool air gets stuck in valleys and warm air moves in overhead. In this case that “squishes down” the fast flowing air moving through the Gorge. Think of it as a certain amount of fluid being forced through a small hose. Velocity increases. But that fast moving air spreads out quickly and slows down under a strong inversion once it leaves the Gorge. Much of the metro area just saw light breezes today

What changes tomorrow?

Wind in the Gorge should be LIGHTER tomorrow, but much stronger wind (than today) should spread across the entire metro area at the same time.

A surge of colder/drier air is moving down into the northern Rockies tonight. The edge of that airmass should arrive over northern Oregon by sunrise. This loop shows 850mb temps…the temperature in Celsius around the 5,000′ elevation. From right now to tomorrow at 7pm. Notice at that elevation temperatures drop 20-30 degrees in just 24 hours around Mt. Hood; a drastic change. Timberline should stay in the 20s, instead of around 50 today. The change isn’t as dramatic westside, but significantly cooler air arrives several thousand feet up over NW Oregon too.

That will do two things…increase the pressure gradient a bit across the Cascades (more wind), but the cooling overhead weakens the inversion. The combination of wind surging right over the Cascades (instead of just through the Gorge) and weaker inversion means that wind will spread out into many areas west of the Cascades. That “small hose” of air will be a “much larger hose”. Less wind IN the Gorge, but a lot more elsewhere. This is common…I’ve always noticed that when we get easterly wind everywhere in the metro area, it tends to be weaker than expected at Vista House. The highest resolution model available (WRF 1.33km) shows quite the drop in wind gusts from 10am today to 10am tomorrow around Crown Point. Notice the blue area (gusts 45+ kts) on today’s chart is gone tomorrow, replaced by widespread gusts 25-40 mph in the West Hills and east metro.

We will see how this works out, but it’s just something I’ve noticed over the years. Another way to look at it is the cross-section around the Crown Pt. area. Light wind overhead today, but strong easterly by midday tomorrow (around 2,000′). And weaker surface windspeed tomorrow compared to today

It’ll be interesting to see if we get a tighter gradient (10-11 millibars) tomorrow but weaker wind out there. We’ll see. Regardless, plan on a few power outages in the metro area, but another sunny day!

177 Responses to Gusty east wind returns for most of us Thursday

  1. WEATHERDAN says:

    Weathermodels.com earlier today had Salem on December 11th at 6 for a low and 21 for a high. Now 12 hours later it is 44 for a low and 59 for a high. Insane. That is a difference of 38 degrees within 12 hours. What nonsense. I have never seen such a radical change in such a short time ever before. Why. what has changed. Maybe tomorrow it will change back but who knows. Does anyone have an explanation for such a turnaround. Peace.

  2. JohnD says:

    Wonder if Rob will ever post again?
    His input was always compelling and helpful especially during the heavy hitting storms that we can all well remember.

    • X says:

      He posts every night on The Weather Forums he’s under a new username. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

  3. Timenator says:

    NAM showing snoww. lmao this wont happin except in youre dreams

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    The latest gfs meteogram shows a prolonged cold spell starting later this week. And even early this week we could see some snow in the air at ground level. This looks to me to be the beginning of a cold la nina Winter that most of us have been waiting for since the last cold Winter six years ago. Now I know some might say but Dan we have had snow since then. True enough. But it was usually one cold storm in an otherwise mild Winter. The last prolonged cold Winter in Western Oregon was in 2016-2017. Even in our warming climate we tend to have a cold Winter every 3-5 years. This is year six. Now it is way too early to be certain, and we won’t know until March but it looks to me like an enjoyable Winter ahead. Remember we had a cool and wet Spring that changed to dry and hot on June 20th. Then all hot until October 20th. Now it has been mostly well below normal since then. I suspect we are in a pattern of mainly below average temperatures for the next 2-3 months. After that I suspect a return to another hot Summer in 2023. Just the way it is folks. But I hope to watch the snow fall past the Christmas lights in December. So let the fun begin. Merry Christmas and peace.

  5. MasterNate says:

    Thursday Friday timeframe looking real interesting with a low moving in south of Oregon pulling the cold air in from the North and spreading precip into the valley. Could be a great snow producer.

    • Doinko - Bethany says:

      Models seem inconsistent with that low at this point. I’m really hoping for that to happen though. Not too much cold air to our east but maybe it’ll be just enough

    • Andrew says:

      Definitely caught my eye too. This would be a total snow maker if it verifies. EURO is most on board too which is always nice. That low position means everything.

  6. Zach says:

    The 12z gfs brings the vodka express to portland.

  7. Andrew says:

    There is still pretty big disagreement between gfs and EURO on path of the second low friday into saturday. gfs positions it much more south in a position to generate offshore flow and possibly drop temps to at or below freezing. EURO keeps it more north. It’s not a particularly strong system but could generate light snow down to sea level from my read.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      This is the 12Z GFS model that just came out for the Troutdale observation. I know everyone uses a different location but since I live close to Troutdale, I’m using it.

  8. Andrew says:

    The only silver lining to the models clearly indicating we aren’t likely to see lowland snow this week is that the cooler/cold pattern looks like it will persist for a couple weeks. as long as there is cold air in the columbia basin, it just takes the right low trajectory to generate an east wind event. I was really hoping for true north to south arctic event but as has been the case for several years now, the arctic boundary simply doesn’t want to come south enough. Fortunately, winter has just begun.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Your right about the pattern change. Remember a couple of years ago when we had this type of pattern that lasted for a few weeks but it was late February and everyone wished it happened in December. I think we are in that pattern again but we are actually having it when we really need it. All we need is a good push of Artic air into the region with some moisture and we could see a good snowstorm. As it is right now, the snow level will be very low for awhile. I wouldn’t be surprised to see snow mixing in with the rain this week.

      We just need to watch what the models show in the coming weeks. We won’t see high temperatures in the 50’s for awhile. It could be even hard to reach 45 or even 40 on some days. Bundle up and stay warm 🤗❄️

  9. Doinko - Bethany says:

    Euro and GFS are trying to drop an arctic airmass over us day 10+.

  10. Tanis Leach says:

    Taking the night off but

    LETS GO BEAVERS!!!

  11. Doinko - Bethany says:

    GFS has a suppressed jet with a nice east wind snowfall in Portland

  12. tim says:

    Current Sst in the eastern Pacific and off our coast are in the mid and upper 50’s so any cold air coming from the NW will greatly modify before it moves over us whereas below normal sst wouldn’t of course.

    • tim says:

      Ventusky.com is a nice interactive weather map that shows the current sst and other weather conditions.

  13. WEATHERDAN says:

    My take on all of this is-a cool to cold pattern setting up over the next two weeks No Arctic blast, at least not yet. But rather at just about any time it could either be a cold rain or wet snow that barely sticks. So you might wake up and see snow on the ground and by Noon it’s gone. But then that night you might see some more snow. Frustrating I know but it’s too early to tell just how cold it gets. And folks it’s still only late November so relax and enjoy. Merry Christmas and peace.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I agree WEATHERDAN, I think this could be just the start of an ongoing cool/cold pattern.

      People forget how we were very warm and like a light switch, we went to a cooler pattern change and started having rain. I think the atmosphere is doing the same thing but this time it’s trying to snow.

      Time will tell if I’m right. All I can say is it’s looking much colder than normal for the next two weeks (at least that’s what it looks like from what the models are showing).

      All we can do is watch the models to see what they show. 🤗❄️

  14. Timenator says:

    18zzz gfs shows snowow, still a chance. Go ducks!

  15. tim says:

    Impressive cold snap next weekend. Lots of snow into the low lands with very cold night time temps into teens

  16. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    12z EPS with the knockout blow. PDX doesn’t even sniff freezing temps and Seattle maybe gets some snow with VERY marginal temps in the mid 30s.

    • tim says:

      This is definitely not a sea level event at all we’re most of us live but instead the higher hills might see some slushy snow

  17. MasterNate says:

    Plenty of time for the models to show change to a colder solution producing lowland snow. There will be a ton of very cold air just to the North and depending on the trajectory of these lows spinning down the west coast will increase or decrease our lowland snow chances. The models cant pick up on the fine details of the track of these systems 4-7 days out. It might be a 1 or 2 day notice for snowfall with the current setup. It will be a wait and see. It could be epic or a big let down but at least we are talking about the chances of snow and cold and NOT talking about a death ridge with weeks long inversion. Fun times!

  18. tim says:

    It’s even too warm to snow In Seattle now with upper 30’s for highs nextweek were as early runs were showing colder air, models have also back off on the snow chances only the higher hills around the sound could get some snow.

  19. Andrew says:

    Looking at latest disappointing EURO ensemble means, I simply can’t believe that we would have 850mb temps at -20 right on canada-washington border and only get to around -4 over Portland. I’ve never seen such a stark upper level temperature gradient over such a small area. GFS looks much more realistic. I’m hoping EURO will bounce back. The model seesawing is very common.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      That’s common when we start seeing colder air trying to come down from Canada. The models have a tough time on what’s going to happen. We’ll know more in the next couple of days.

      Looking at the satellite picture this morning, I can see the first front with colder air coming down the Alaska and Canadian coastline. That low will start the whole process of cooling down the atmosphere above us. It will be interesting to see how cold this system is. Models can say a lot but sometimes they come short with how cold the atmosphere is. We need to watch reports from people if they are seeing snow.

      Anyway, have a good day and the 12Z runs will be coming out soon 🤗❄️

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      There was a sharp north/south gradient last December when the arctic boundary stalled north of the state border despite what had been modeled leading up to the event. At least the rug was pulled much earlier this time.

      • Andrew says:

        True. It does look like oregon will likely get shaft on boundary position (what’s new). However, this does set up a stretch where an east wind event can happen. there should be plenty of cold air in the columbia basin and the atmosphere should be cold enough for us to avoid freezing rain for the most part.

  20. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    The GEFS will continue to trend toward the OP, book it. The ensembles are always behind on the trends and take a while to reflect changes. In fact, we are already seeing the GEFS trend more west. The second trough is likely a dud. Only a miracle on the 00z euro and EPS can save us now.

    • Jim says:

      It’s a week away Evan. Relax and be hopeful instead of tossing everything away. Sure looks like it will be cold enough and that’s all we look for to begin with

  21. tim says:

    Now that this cold snap is over maybe we can think about windstorms and flood events this winter.

  22. Timenator says:

    tim family wins again, the snow a no show no snow.

    With our new climate it canot snow unless its withen a 8 days of the first day of winter December 22nd, otherwize to much hot hot no snow sunshine

    • tim says:

      This could be our only shot of winter too but for you guys in Oregon I hope not that said there’s always next year.

  23. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Told you. Rug pull on the 00z GFS… King euro remains undefeated.

    • Timenator says:

      loser

      • Timenator says:

        by that I mean the 06z and 18z gfs and yesterdaaysyaas gfs were wrong. Mr even ceder Millar is not a loser he’s a winner he was right like me and tim Evan should and can join the always right tim family

  24. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Rug pull imminent on the 00z runs, especially the euro…

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Evan, it may look like the rug is pulled on the operational runs but the Essembles still look good on both the GFS and Euro. We’ll see how things go in the next couple of days.

  25. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    I have a feeling this is going to be a Washington special.

  26. Roland Derksen says:

    Looks like we could get a decent dump of snow here next week-if the forecasted colder than normal temperatures develop. However, I’m not expecting an arctic wave like we had in late November 2006.

  27. Tanis Leach says:

    EPS trended west, which typically doesn’t happen, as more often then not, the trough trends east.

  28. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Terrible 12z euro and eps runs. GFS and EURO very much at odds. Will be interesting to see how this evolves…but I am predicting a long and painful rug pull.

  29. Timenator says:

    12z GDPS looks promising, 3-5 inches of snow then some frigid temps.

  30. Opie says:

    I noted last night that weather.com was forecasting similar snow totals for Bellingham and Eugene, suggesting Salem and Portland would get their fair share as well.

    This morning’s forecast has shifted snow totals to the north, with Eugene’s cut in half and Bellingham’s nearly doubled. 🤨

  31. pgiorgio says:

    Same cold biased models 7 days or more out. Every year people act disappointed when the models warm with every new run. Its clear not enough time and money has been invested in weather models this century. Its silly to be surprised when its always the same thing.

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Even 7 days is a dice roll. I think Mark’s window is 48 hours if I’m not mistaken and that seems about right historically.

  32. WEATHERDAN says:

    Over the last 17 days Salem has received .22 inches of rain. The first 7 days we had 6.58 inches. The last 6 days we will be lucky to see an additional .7. And we will probably be one of the 10 coldest Novembers of record for Salem (since 1892). Yet it seems to have been rather pleasant to me with a fair amount of sunshine. As for the snow and cold it still looks we will see some of both by the 3rd of December. And it looks to me that we don’t see a major warm up anytime soon. By that I don’t see a day over 45 until at least December 10th. I feel we will have an active Winter this time around. Not always cold and snowy but the overall pattern seems to be cooler than average. I will let it go with that. May you all get the weather that you seek. Peace.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I agree WEATHERDAN. The Essembles temperatures keep us chilly for awhile. The big question is, will we get moisture with the cold air? There is potential for moisture but it looks more scattered showers than having a good system with a lot of moisture coming into our area. Only time will tell. We just need to keep watching the models really closely 🤗❄️

  33. Tanis Leach says:

    EPS did progress towards better for PDX metro by 1 degree. 12z Euro was a cold outlier, 0z was a about the 75%. We shall see. Too soon to make any adjustments.

    Also the snow depth is off the ground for EVERY ensamble (0.06 inches). It’s not much, but it’s progress.

    BTW, for context, I need it off the ground by 0.5 inches for heavy consideration beyond 5 days out, though off by any this far out (7 days 15 hours) is rare.

  34. Tanis Leach says:

    0z Euro is why 7 day rule exists.

    EPS is still out, but I think I may lean to assume a rug pull at this point. Still going with mid 30s for highs a week from tomorrow, though probably 36, or 37.

    • tim says:

      It’s becoming clearer now this won’t be a major arctic blast by an means west of the cascades just a brush of winter instead, 00z gfs and euro are in line with each other.

      • Oasis says:

        Oh TT-SEA you are like 12 year old kid (probably 55+) please stay on your own puget sound forums or nwweatherforum. You only reply with warm,hot,dry posts. I can only imagine it gets you ‘turnt’ and adolescent when you post on this forum. For a grown man with so many sheds your children have built for you, I figured you for a full grown male adult. Which you are far from. Please grow up and stop being a snow weenie. Please and thank you. 😊

    • Jimmy Johns says:

      Yep. Unfortunately this event looks to be a non issue.

    • Oasis says:

      Not so fast my friend. There seems to be some decent blocking and tomorrow runs could potentially come back to what was originally generated yesterday. The rug was pulled by that rascally racoon but he might, might replace that rug with a Brunt cold arctic front. But who knows it’s the pnw and forcasts change every two hours especially when it comes to cold/snow. I know I’m a novice but we always have a 1/20 chance when models show la la land

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