November 21, 2009


The forecasting is changing a bit...and getting more serious. Moderate rain has overspread our area and winds in NW Washington have picked up substantially...take a look at Smith Island...getting near 50 kts. That is serious wind.
But the big issue is the small, but significant, low center out there right now. A critical forecast question is its track across the State. New runs suggest it will move a bit further north...crossing the central WA coast and tracking over the south Sound. With this track there will stronger winds along the central WA coast and SW WA (see graphic)...sustained 40-50 mph, with gusts to 70 mph, in some places. Even more serious is that the westerly surge through the Strait of Juan de Fuca looks stronger than suggested earlier...with powerful winds gusting 60 60-70 mph (see graphic).

I am working on research about these Strait surges and writing a paper about them. A particularly strong one hit in October 2003 and destroyed Ivar's Mukilteo Landing Restaurant (my book has a whole section on this. Ivar's rebuilt the restaurant on a weather theme--I love this place and food is very good. The best thing is the weather instrument panel.....if the winds get above a certain level you are supposed to push this red knob and go back to your table and order dessert. ) Another surge in 1990 half destroyed the WSDOT Ferry Elwha where it was being repaired in Everett Harbor. This surge should occur sometime between 4 AM and 9 AM so be aware about it. Northern Whidbey Island could get hit very hard.

PS: Nights like this illustrate why we need the coastal radar. In the NWS discussion the forecaster admits he doesn't know exactly where the low is or its strength. But it is close enough now that a coastal radar would have provided a definitive answer..right now..when we need it....


  1. Raining here in Hoquiam now...but not much far!

  2. Your P.S. reads like a future "I told you so." It's kinda creepy. Lets get that radar.

  3. Report from Central Washington Coast as of 11pm:
    Barometer still falling - currently at 29.35 (994mb) Rainfall today 1.48 inches. Winds have switched 17-29mph East No big winds yet as of 11pm.

  4. At 11:03, now the winds are picking up....and it is pouring here in Hoq.

  5. Check out the kiro doppler

    Portland and surrounding areas are getting hammered by heavy rain, moving this way.

  6. This low needs to go north even more so! A bit of "South Valley Surprise" element to this storm.

  7. That surface wind map is funny Cliff. It's like the Olympics is the eye of the hurricane. South winds puget sound, east through the straight, north down the coast, and west across the chehalis gap. And is that even a small painted area of white. Destruction Is. is going to live up to its name.

    PS. That rain band does have some intense rainfall, but i think that portland radar is picking up on some big rain drops or maybe even some slushy snow higher for the brighter reflectivity

  8. Aboard my boat in Oak Harbor... thank you for the warning. I just walked the docks and checked everybody's lines and fenders, with a few fixes here and there. I appreciate the info, and hope this is the last of the crazy winds for a while!

  9. Steady rains on Central Washington Coast for a total of 1.61 inches at 11:42pm. Wind Gusts to 29mph, sustained at 17mph from East still. We have not been hit yet. From forecast it appears we won't be peaking with wind until 4am in the morning. Temp has dropped to 37F at sea level and Barometer is 29.27 and still diving.(991 mb)- Moclips/Pacific Beach, WA

  10. what is the "Chehalis Gap"?

    The valley between the olympics and the willapa hills.

    By the blog.

  11. PS. That rain band does have some intense rainfall, but i think that portland radar is picking up on some big rain drops or maybe even some slushy snow higher for the brighter reflectivity

    Definitely a possibility.

  12. I guess I'll trust my instincts more often, because I feel like I really called this one well. :)

    Lake Stevens at 12:15am Sunday..winds are basically down to nothing. It was breezy around 4 to 8 pm, but our moderate rain has been around all night, even now.

    Our wind advisory has been upgraded to suggest stronger winds, but later on sunday (starting at around 4 or 5 am rather than at midnight).

    Our current pressure is at 29.15 (987.13), dropped down from 29.7 (1005.75 at approx noon on saturday).

    I'll be up bright and early to see if we do get any of these morning winds.

  13. Last check before bed, but by the looks of the WV imagery, the low is about 100 miles further south than on the GFS. Also surface observations at the coast are more easterly, even NE. And, temperatures are quite cold too. 33 at Shelton, wow.

    Models might have just initialize this storm poorly

  14. I wish I could go to bed, I'm sitting here with a fully charged rechargeable flashlight, a fistfull of candles, 1 pre cooked hamburger, and a white russian.

    Please dont tell me I'm gonna sleep through this storm!!

    Anybody want to give me a wake up call? Anybody???

  15. Typically when the Seattle WFO issues a high wind warning before conditions are present for inland areas not much occurs.

  16. Right you are sermonti (thats like a cool red wine name, by the way)

    All I wanted for christmas was an early powerfull destructive windstorm, and here it is 3AM and nothing!

    I'm gonna go look for that red ryder bb gun instead.


  17. No wind yet as far as I can tell anywhere. Seattle, Olympia, Port Angeles or Hoquiam all pretty much calm.

  18. we just had a HUGE wind gust that blew a window out of our house!

  19. CENTRAL COAST - Moclips
    7am and the wind has arrived. Not the 50-70 mph predicted at the Coast, but Sustained 30mph from the SWW gust to 40mph. Barometer is on the steep rise at 29.50 after dipping to the 29.12. Temps going up to 47F from 37F at 1am.

  20. Ahh, should have guessed. With the wind advisory up we ended up with no wind, not even a breath of wind here in lake stevens.

    So far, every single wind advisory that's gone up has been exact opposite of what really happened here as far as wind goes.

    I thought I was right about the wind for our area, but we ended up with nothing.

  21. I see a 51 mph gust at Hoquiam ( and wind seems to be picking up at Sea-Tac ( so maybe there will be some wind after all...


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