Late yesterday the first strong cold front of the fall moved across eastern Washington, bringing northerly winds gusting to 30-50 mph that picked up large amounts of material from the surface, and resulting in a veritable dust storm over large sections of the inland empire. To illustrate, here are the weather observations Moses Lake Airport (time in GMT, 1752 is 10:52 AM, etc). Wind gusts hit 41 knots at 5:52 PM and you can see reports of haze (H) and blowing dust (BD).
I have enhanced a visible satellite photo at 4:30 PM (shown below). You can see the arc-shaped leading edge of the strong winds, with streams of dust behind.
Substantially cooler air followed this cold front..on both sides of the Cascades.. and after the wind decreased late last night, several locations west of the Cascades had their first frost of the season. Here are the temperatures and winds at 6 AM this morning around Seattle...what a contrast! 50s near the water and where there was some wind to stir things up, while mid to lower 30s over the eastern suburbs where the wind calmed out...lot of frost there for sure. My vegetable garden is going downhill fast!
Finally, for those that love weather records, it is official. The August-September precipitation at Seattle-Tacoma Airport (of .03 inches) was the driest in the 65-year record at that location.
It was the second driest in 65 years for July-September.
1967 0.97 inches
In the Portland area, a number of locations had their driest July-September on record:
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OREGON
735 AM PDT TUE OCT 2 2012
...DRIEST JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER ON RECORD...
VERY DRY CONDITIONS ACROSS THE REGION THIS PAST SUMMER INTO EARLY
AUTUMN. FOR MANY LOCATIONS...JULY TO SEPTEMBER OF 2012 WILL GO DOWN
AS THE DRIEST FOR THE PERIOD OF RECORD (POR).
NEW RECORD DRIEST JULY TO SEPTEMBER FOR...
JUL-SEP 2012 PREVIOUS RECORD NORMAL POR
PORTLAND AIRPORT 0.25 INCH 0.51 IN 1952 2.45 1940-2012
VANCOUVER 0.28 INCH 0.57 IN 1952 M 1896-2012
SALEM 0.11 INCH 0.23 IN 1952 2.17 1892-2012
HILLSBORO 0.15 INCH 0.36 IN 1952 2.24 1929-2012
SITES THAT FINISHED NOT TOP...BUT AS SECOND DRIEST ON RECORD
JUL-SEP 2012 CURRENT RECORD NORMAL POR
PORTLAND DOWNTOWN 0.52 INCH 0.49 IN 1952 2.81 1890-2012
EUGENE 0.21 INCH 0.18 IN 1942 2.45 1896-2012
MCMINNVILLE 0.15 INCH 0.03 IN 1994 2.32 1894-2012
Forecast models indicate no rain for at least the next week.