Will Update at noon (Thursday). Big blow is on for tonight
Heavy rain, winds, flooding: hardy Pacific Northwest residents take it in stride.
In San Francisco, they panic.
A strong storm is now bearing down on the Northwest, which I will describe in a second. San Francisco will NOT be hit by this strong low center but will get a bit of a trailing front. These poor golden-state folks will experience a few inches of rain tomorrow and some gusty winds, reaching perhaps 40-50 mph in the city. And they are in panic mode, closing down the city's schools, shuttering churches and synagogues. Canceling meetings and gathering of all types.
In contrast, we have had winds gusting to 70 mph on the coast and 40-60 mph around western Washington today (see graphic). Our rivers are flooding and heavy rain is striking our region. We take it in stride. No problem. I don't like to call anyone a weather wimp, but....
Today was an extraordinary day, the warmest December day in the history of our region at MANY locations. You will tell your grandchildren about it one day. The 24h maximum temps are shown below. Mid to upper 60s in many locations of western Oregon and Washington and 70F in Walla Walla.
And yes, there is thesmall matter of the upcoming storm.
This system is finally starting to develop. Here are the latest infrared and water vapor images, with my yellow marker indicating the storm. Not very impressive yet. One of the signs of a developing storm is a darkening in the water vapor imagery (associated with sinking behind the storm). I have indicated the darkening with an arrow.
Here is the latest UW WRF runs driven by the GFS model. In general, the low is slightly weaker than last night and a bit further offshore. The result will be more modest winds over Puget Sound. At 1 PM the low is off the central Oregon coast with strong winds (sustained at 50 kts) reaching the coast. Gust could reach 70-80 mph in some exposed locations.
By 10 PM, the low has reached Tatoosh Island, with strong winds along the coast, and winds starting to rev in Puget Sound (perhaps gusts to 30-50 mph). The low will be weakening rapidly tomorrow night.
A significant event but not the equal of one of our great windstorms (like the Chanukah Eve Storm in 2006). There will surely be some power outages.
The European Center model is now on the same page as the U.S. GFS. With both giving essentially the same forecast, our confidence in the prediction is much higher.
If this thing approached San Francisco, they would probably abandon the city. But we are made of sterner stuff.