Last night, a surge of cool marine pushed eastward in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, bringing winds gusting above 50 mph in the central and eastern Strait.
Here is a map of the max winds during the event. 51 mph at Smith Island (actually got to 55 mph there), 56 mph at Race Rocks (SW of Victoria), and 60 mph on Camano Is. 42 mph at Port Townsend. Impressive.
Here is the plot of the maximum gusts at Smith Island this week....wind picked up a bit on Wednesday but the big spike was Thursday night (to 48 knots or 55 mph)
Our numerical models were predicting this westerly wind surge. Here is the 12-h forecast of sustained winds (not gusts) from the UW WRF model valid at 5 PM Thursday. The light green colors are sustained winds of 35 knots (40 mph)...a pretty good forecast.
The surge of marine air will bring a temporary respite from the above-normal temperatures, certainly today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday). But we will be back into the mid-70s on Sunday and even around 80F on Monday. And then a transition to cooler air on Tuesday...and yes...perhaps some winds in the Strait.
The weather story of Northwest summers is the battle between cool air offshore and warm air east of the Cascades. Gaps in the mountains are the battle zones in this conflict and strong winds can result, when cold air makes the inevitable push eastward after a period of above-normal temperatures.