Generally the NW gets wimpy thunderstorms, but not last night and today. Right now it is pouring and thundering outside my window, but last night between 11 and midnight one of the most intense lines of thunderstorms I have seen moved through.
Earlier in the evening it was exciting enough...a strong cold front moved through the region with strong winds, gusts reaching 30-50 mph. The NWS forecast was quite good about this. Branches were downed, power taken out for thousands, lights flickering for most, and worst of all, someone died from a falling tree branch. The observations from the roof of my department is found above--if you look closely you can see strong winds, the drop in temperature, pulse of rain, and other features associated with the 11 PM thunderstorm and another later in the night.
Cold, unstable air followed the front...something obvious in the satellite picture (convective cloud field, see image). (For more information on why instability showers follow our fronts, check my book).
This convection was substantial..the line that came through after eleven had very high reflectivities (intensity of precipitation), including very high values (red) associated with small hail or graupel (figure). Amazing precip rates and winds. My dog was in a panic.
More convection is following today.
And there are the big waves...which are moving in. Take a look at the observations from offshore (46036) and nearshore (46036) buoys below. The offshore one had waves in excess of 30 ft. And this is not over. If anyone is on the coast later today, some pictures would be of interest.
And then there is all the talk about the reduced threat of the Howard Hanson Dam due to the successful grout curtain--which is very good. But there is something else no one talks about...we are well into the threat season. The big threat for flooding on that watershed is November and December. The dam is now empty and it is November 6th. Our computer models do not indicate any major rain events (Pineapple Express) through mid-November. So we will get through 1/4 of the big threat season ok.