With the passage of what local meteorologists call a Modified Arctic Front, our region has been hit with plummeting temperatures, low humidities, and very strong northerly winds, with some locations experiencing gusts over 50 mph. Over 30,000 customers have lost power from the winds and snow is falling on the northern side of the Olympics.
The Arctic front was associated with large pressure gradients between the interior of British Columbia and Washington State, results intense wind acceleration in the Fraser River and Okanogan River gaps. (see NWS pressure/frontal analysis and UW WRF temperature/pressure forecast for 10 AM Saturday)
The max gusts (mph) for a subset of western WA stations is shown below: strong winds (gusting to 40-60 mph pushed out the Fraser Valley across Bellingham to Blaine and accelerated over the water. Some pushed into the Strait and other strong winds headed southward into Puget Sound. Can you imagine if there had been a big coal pile north of Bellingham at the proposed Cherry Point site? The dust plume would have spread to the southwest toward the San Juans....
Winds along Puget Sound and Lake Washington have been vicious, with white caps galore.
If you want to experience, the power of the current winds check out this wonderful high-def video by the areas leading weather-cam enthusiastic, Greg Johnson of Skunk Bay Weather (click on image or link)
I was just a Magnuson Park...it was amazing out there, with big waves and white caps...and an excellent rescue of a boater by a Coast Guard helicopter and a Seattle Police boat. As I write this, large branches are falling off evergreen trees in back of my house. Northerly winds over Puget Sound at West Point (see below) hit 41 knots (47 mph)...which is a VERY strong wind speed from the north. I have heard of substantial erosion on the north side of the Kitsap at Hansville and on northern Bainbridge Is.
But the strongest winds are now over and we can expect things to settle down this afternoon. The pressure difference between Bellinghan (BLI) and Kamloops, BC has dropped considered from its peak of 15.22 hPa (8.4 hPa and hour ago)
Northerly winds tend to cause more branches to be lost than southerly winds at the same speed, since trees are far more accustomed to strong southerlies in our area.
The upslope flow has ended between Sequim and Port Angeles, where 2-6 inches fell (see cam for a location between Sequim and Port Angeles):
There will be no precipitation the next two days, with temperatures falling into the mid to lower 20s in western Washington.