It is going to be pretty wild in Husky Stadium tonight...and I am not talking about the drinking and partying at the tailgate festivities. Western Washington is going to experience a serious windstorm as as a strong low center approaches western Washington from the south and moves northwestward across the Olympics. And it is bit stronger than our model forecasts indicated yesterday.
First, the latest Langley Hill radar image. My god...you can see the swirl of the precipitation band around the low center (low center is marked by L). Little doubt where it is..a great aid to forecasters... and a reminder of the positive impacts of Senator Cantwell's work to secure this radar for us in 2009.
Buoy 29 is positioned right off he mouth of the Columbia River (see map)
The winds at that buoy are gusting to nearly 55 knots (63 mph) right now.
And here is the pressure/wind trace: pressure dropped below 984 hPa there.
The UW WRF forecast for 2PM shows the low center, but the lowest pressure is only 984 hPa. The buoy did not pass through the storm's center and thus the central pressure of the low must be somewhat deeper than forecast. Another buoy farther offshore (46089) had its pressure drop to 982.8 hPa and it was clearly west of the low. So there is a good chance we are dealing with a storm around 980 hPa.
This low system is more consolidated and better formed than earlier predictions and, as I have noted, the central pressure is lower. Thus, the impacts will be enhanced as it moves northward.
The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning around noon:
That means they are fairly sure we will have a big wind event.
And the latest NOAA/NWS High Resolution Rapid Refresh wind forecasts for 8 PM (0300 UTC) and 11 PM say it all. Gusts of 20-50 mph.
The Portland area has already experienced many power outages (see below)
I don't want to hype this. We will see gusts of 30-50 mph and because the leaves are on the trees we are more vulnerable. But this is NOT going to be like the Columbus Day, Inauguration Day, or Chanukah Eve storms. But you might go to sleep with a flashlight.
So if you are going to the Husky game, watching Don Giovanni go to hell at Seattle Opera, or any other activity tonight, be watchful outside... particularly for falling trees and power lines.