Saturday, November 21, 2009
The forecasting is changing a bit...and getting more serious. Moderate rain has overspread our area and winds in NW Washington have picked up substantially...take a look at Smith Island...getting near 50 kts. That is serious wind.
But the big issue is the small, but significant, low center out there right now. A critical forecast question is its track across the State. New runs suggest it will move a bit further north...crossing the central WA coast and tracking over the south Sound. With this track there will stronger winds along the central WA coast and SW WA (see graphic)...sustained 40-50 mph, with gusts to 70 mph, in some places. Even more serious is that the westerly surge through the Strait of Juan de Fuca looks stronger than suggested earlier...with powerful winds gusting 60 60-70 mph (see graphic).
I am working on research about these Strait surges and writing a paper about them. A particularly strong one hit in October 2003 and destroyed Ivar's Mukilteo Landing Restaurant (my book has a whole section on this. Ivar's rebuilt the restaurant on a weather theme--I love this place and food is very good. The best thing is the weather instrument panel.....if the winds get above a certain level you are supposed to push this red knob and go back to your table and order dessert. ) Another surge in 1990 half destroyed the WSDOT Ferry Elwha where it was being repaired in Everett Harbor. This surge should occur sometime between 4 AM and 9 AM so be aware about it. Northern Whidbey Island could get hit very hard.
PS: Nights like this illustrate why we need the coastal radar. In the NWS discussion the forecaster admits he doesn't know exactly where the low is or its strength. But it is close enough now that a coastal radar would have provided a definitive answer..right now..when we need it....
Posted by Cliff Mass at 9:54 PM