Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storm Nowcast

8:30 PM  I don't know how long I will have connectivity:  my power is flickering, strong gusts are periodically buffeting the house, and I can hear large branches snapping close by.   Some flashes are visible on the horizon:  a sure sign of blowing transformer fuses.

The gusts are amazing....you can hear them several seconds before they hit-- a roaring sound that grows closer and then arrives with my house groaning and the swish of air passing buildings and trees.   Gusts are associated with the turbulent mixing of strong winds aloft down to the surface.

The latest Seattle City Light Windwatch wind map shows plenty of winds between 30 and 45 mph, and stronger winds have hit Sea-Tac, Olympia, and other locations.

6300 CityLight and 63000 Puget Sound Energy customers are out of power at this time...and folks we have not hit the peak of this yet.   The north-south pressure gradient in the Sound is still increasing.

One hour later (9:38 PM, 14,500  City Light customers and 79,000 Puget Sound Energy customers had lost power
...................
The winds are going to hit suddenly and hard during the next few hours if you are in Puget Sound country.

Strong winds reached Olympia and now Tacoma (6:30 PM), with gusts to 48 knots in Olympia last hour.

Strong winds are descending to the surface rapidly.  Here are the winds above Seattle-Tacoma, with the left most reports at 6 PM.  30 knot wind were only a few hundred meters above the surface at this point in time.

Puget Sound Energy outage maps tell the story...lights started going out very rapidly when the winds surged in.

The latest forecast from the NOAA/NWS High Resolution Rapid Refresh System suggests Seattle will feel the winds during the next hour (by 8 PM) and they will be strongest around 10 PM (here is the forecast gust map from HRRR).  50-60 knots over the water, and 30-40 knots over land.
 So get ready for an exciting few hours...it will hit like a wall of wind.  Cook your dinners now!

Feel free to leave comments about the winds if you want to share your observations.

51 comments:

Kathryn Stout said...

We waited too long to start our dinner��. Am in the middle of the sound and the ferry is suddenly giving us a rocky ride, lights just off on Vashon north,

emanon said...

We live outside Olympia and lost power about 6:30. It felt like being hit by a freight train

Brianna Hawkins said...

So calm in Lynnwood now, but it was neat to see the mammatus clouds soaring through here right before sunset. Quite the impressive cloud formation. Air is definitely unstable.

Bob said...

Just as I was reading this, 7:00pm here on top of QA Hill - a strong gust slammed into my south-facing windows. Had been relatively calm until that.

Kelly said...

Lights have gone out and then back on here in Seabeck and the winds are starting to ramp up.

Joel Myer said...

Good Stuff Cliff,

No outages over here in Mason County yet, but lots of reports of flickering electricity. Any suggestions on intensity and timing for our side of the pond?

All the Best
Joel Myer
Mason PUD 3, Shelton

trev said...

We live on a tiny sailboat in Tacoma, and started bouncing around at about 1800 tonight. Do you still think this will be over by midnight?

Brianna Hawkins said...

It literally just hit here like a wall. Went from completely calm to gusty in about 2 seconds. Scared me because i had the window open temporarily.

Scott Souchock said...

Thanks for the nowcast. Very helpful and appreciated. I would also remind people (as I have just reminded my friends) to put your phones on the charger now. And set aside the flashlights and candles and matches nearby if you typically lose power.

Unknown said...

7:37 and I've just started hearing gusts above Richmond Beach.

I just looked at the radar and it was showing the low above Swiftsure Bank with calm conditions at Neah Bay. Hopefully it doesn't hang a right and run along the straights.

JewelyaZ said...

35 mph gusts here in Bellevue so far. Power has flickered twice.

Dave Steckler said...

Power flickering here in Preston. Gas tanks for generators are full, chainsaw is tuned up, 18650's charged for flashlights. Dinner complete.

Ready as we'll ever be.

Frankly, I'm going to be just a tad annoyed if we don't lose power at this point. :-)

larchitech said...

I'm sitting in Olympia with the battery powered lantern right beside me. The power went out shortly a little before 6 and it keeps flickering. I just checked the history for KOLM and they showed a 55 mph gust at 5:50 which is just about the time the power went out here. I was outside briefly and saw what looked like diffused lightning in the clouds but I'm pretty sure it was fuses blowing in the distance.

Jesse said...

Spot on! Like a wall. Started at 8:15 here in bothell.

Patti said...

I'm on south Whidbey and it's wild here!

Tony said...

In the dark in Olympia, lost power about 6:11PM. Personal weather station reported a high gust of 39mph. Almost thought we dodged a bullet when the power went off.

Houseboat guy said...

On Lake Union in a houseboat thinking, what's all the fuss is about? A little windy but not bad at all.

Robert Salnick said...

40 knots on Camsno... So far. And no power.

The Drennans said...

Lots of power flickers here in Shoreline, power out in a number of areas @9:30PM. I'm hearing a lot of "booms", but our fir trees are holding up well so far.

Unknown said...

Lummi Island; 9:30pm Winds steady sse at 48mph; gust of 65.

thorrad said...

Living on my boat on North Lake Union has been fantastic this evening. The gusts really hit at around 7:45pm it went from little more than 20 knots to over 40 in about 3-5 minutes. As of right now at 9:36 its a series of gusts that come and go with a little rain. When they arrive they are very forceful my boat lists to port almost 10 degrees on the larger gusts.

Colleen said...

Major wind gusts up here in north Whatcom County, but we're used to that. Given the warm temps, it's no biggie in comparison to the northeaster we get out of the Fraser Valley. Just trying to figure out how the panic about power outages and downed trees here in Puget Sound is any different from the alleged panic in northern Cal. ;-)

Liz Axford said...

I'm on South Whidbey too and we lost power at 8:23 pm. It's going to be a long night. It's our first Big Storm on Whidbey. We've been thru 2 big hurricanes and this is a pretty fair comparison.

Sweetpea said...

Blowing REAL GOOD here on Lopez Island at 9:53pm. Huge gusts followed by 60+seconds to 2 minutes until another buildup ... wild ... roaring up from the south mainly.

Janet Sedy said...

So I pulled up to the ferry terminal in Edmonds at 7:50, and the winds were gusty but nothing that unusual. Then just after 8 pm, a wall of wind buffeted my car, and then it just kept coming. The 8:30 ferry ride was fun--I was starting to feel a bit nauseated even before we left the dock. As we headed over the sound, waves hit the side of the vessel and splashed over the lower railing. The vessel was turned somewhat and this pounding eased, but then we hit several large waves which felt like we had run over large tree trunks. Kingston had lights, but the power was out along 104 and 307. Tree branches, some large were all over the roadway. Definitely glad to be home, and have the candles and flashlights ready!

Skip Denny said...

Winds on HCB over 40 for last 1/2 hr, with gust to at least 62. Boat at Shilshole rock'n and roll'in.

JewelyaZ said...

I have the SE-facing slider open about 6" to enjoy the Stannard wind chimes going; they are some of the larger ones and it takes 20 mph or more for them to really sing (it's a fairly reliable indicator, in a non-scientific way). Our biggest gusts on the semi-professional weather station on the roof have been 44 mph, one from the SSW and one from the N. The weird thing to me is how these big gusts have swirled all around instead of being consistently from one direction. I'm sure I'm imagining it, but the trees seem to be groaning more than they do when there's a steady source of the wind.

The light went off a few times, but you can hear the wind here: Stannard chimes at 44 mph N, Bellevue WA (The power has flickered a number of times, but because all my devices are fully charged ;-) it's stayed on so far).

clive boulton said...

Winds picking up at Big Rock east of Mount Vernon, flickering power (so far, so good).

feetforbrains.com said...

22:45 In Issaquah Highlands and the gusts are pretty intense. Still have power on. Clocked one from the balcony at 63 mph.

Lori said...

Power out in Clearview about 9:30. Candles out, nearly time for bed!

kermitzii said...

I flew to SF from Van. today. It was calm in Vancouver but the clouds over Oregon looked so strange. Streaks of wind blown tops interspersed with what looked like tropical thunderstorms. When we landed in SF there was heavy snow above 6 or 8K feet (I like how the landing lights illuminated the flakes) but at the SF airport heavy rain at 4 pm today. The thing about flying is you above most of the weather except for takeoff and landing.
Kermit

Joel said...

Something soothing about the waves of wind gusts -- like the ocean.

Jim Terry said...

3 miles NNE of Monroe and we had Easterly winds until about 9:00. Felt very warm outside... comfortable in shirt sleeves... had to be close to 60 degrees from the East Winds. The south winds didn't start until about 9:30 and haven't been that bad... surprisingly I have yet to lose power... just a few blinks - not even enough to trip my UPS... yet folks just West of here are having all kinds of high winds.

Unknown said...

In Duvall, power went out for 20 seconds at 8:30 pm. Just long enough for me to walk from the kitchen into the laundry room toward the garage, where I had the door open, so I could go outside and fire up the generator. Since then, we've had a few flickers, but it hasn't gone off completely yet. Reminds me of the January 2006 windstorm. Same thing happened that time around. I still have my flashlight at the handy, just in case another gust blows through and finally knocks things out, but it seems that the house isn't being blasted by wind as frequently anymore.

S I G N A L I U S said...

Janet, you probably DID hit tree trunks on that crossing. The Sound was littered with logs from this morning's extra-high tide.

And spiders, probably.

JordanP said...

Total non-event here in Fauntleroy. We have exposure to the SW looking right at the sound, but got nothing last night. Wind speeds were around 10 mph with a single maximum gust of 25 mph, but mostly just around 15-20. Also got about .1" of rain out of the total event. Was a major fizzle of a storm here.

Sail on MIke said...

Friends in Shoreline, near Costco had a medium size (1.5 ft dia. and maybe 75 ft tall) fir hit their house about 9pm. No injuries to homeowner but a good scare. Moderate damage to roof and roof structure. It's an older house. It held up well considering. Matter of fact it IS holding the tree up now until it can be removed.

Williams402 said...

It was great last night Cliff. Mason County about 8:00 PM, my son and I opened the front door right as a 40kt + gust hit and it just about knocked over his 8 year old body. He went running through the house yelling for his sister to try it too! Didn't loose power thanks to the best PUD in the state!
Joel Thurman-Williams
Shelton

Sail on MIke said...

PS I like the poking of fun at the Bay Area folks. They deserve it. Heaven knows we get our share when the snow and ice come.

JewelyaZ said...

Signalius wins the comment thread! But this storm was slightly dud-ish here in Bellevue, with only 4 gusts over 40 mph, 2 @ 44 the max. And no power outage, because ALL our devices were FULLY charged and the gas tank was full. *yawn*

pgmagallanesr said...

Did the meso low form north of the Sound???

Walt Mahoney said...

In woodinville, we lost power at 10:30 PM, back on a 6:20 AM.

Winds were strong but not constant, odd very still time from now and them last night, between the high winds.

clive boulton said...

Flickering electricity all over: Our regions power transmission system generally more resilient than wind storms before. Well done all involved.

Jean Danek said...

Here in Edmonds at 11pm all hell broke out .... 59mph winds clocked by Edmonds Ferry ..... I live back side to Pine Ridge Park and it sounded like hell. A big mess to clean up this morning many big arms off the trees laying on the ground.

Ansel said...

I lost power about 9:20 (I live on the Bothell-Mill Creek line). Since I worked late I had not eaten and ended up cooking on my camp stoves by candle light... Well, it is a nice change of pace. Power came on about 3:00 this morning. No damage in my immediate neighborhood.

Unknown said...

Still waiting for power to come back on in S Everett. The weather station at Paine Field registered a wind gust of 62 around 11pm - with sustained winds of 45. That's death to an older neighborhood with above ground power lines and is close to when our power went out.

Colleen said...

Eh, no one wins the comment thread on what was ultimately a non-event. Proving again that other people in other places can always find reason to mock our Weather Panic (and vice versa). 59 mph winds isn't on par with all hell breaking loose. It's just…59 mph winds.

Jim Barrett said...

My weather station on Mutiny Bay recorded a 69 mph gust at 9:30 PM. I had lost power at 8:10 PM but my station is on battery back up. I subsequently lost my Comcast Internet later in the evening and it did not come back online until 3PM the following morning.
www.mutinybayweather.com

John Marshall said...

Never even noticed the storm here, at 1000' elevation and just south of Sequim town. A bit of rain and a little breezy, so I'm envious of you folks who have trees down and had power out, cooking on camp stoves with candles.

Never any weather adventure out here. But I do like watching the clouds blow by in the east. And the west. And the north. And the south. That darn blue hole.

Joseph Ratliff said...

This was not one of the typical storms, I would say a touch stronger than that.

I haven't seen wind gusts over 50 mph for 2 hours straight in Olympia since 2006 (the infamous Eve storm).

No reason to panic, as there were "only" 130,000 without power after it was said and done, instead of millions (some are still without power today). But this was certainly NOT "just an average windstorm" for this part of the Western WA region.

JewelyaZ said...

Can we have the warm-ish wind back? I'd take it over the raw, cutting fog we have now at 36F (we're at the dew point). Brrrr!