November 18, 2009

Windy Night

Lots of wind tonight....not a major windstorm...but...take a look at the latest observations (see graphic). Sustained winds of 40-50 mph on the coast, with gusts to 60-70 mph at some locations. Also strong winds over NW Washington, with gusts to 40-55 mph. NW WA has really gotten it the last week--as described in my book, a major causes is the lower pressure in the lee (NE) of the Olympics. Winds hitting 30-40 mph over the lowlands...particularly over water. Should quiet down later tonight.

Very substantial precipitation during the next two days, particularly over the mountains: 2-6 inches probable there. And the Cascades should get a few additional feet. It is looking very good for skiing over Thanksgiving...a great gift to the ski resorts. Turns out this is a wonderful year for ski resorts all over the U.S. One reason...we had one of the coldest Octobers on record across the U.S. (see map). But skiers beware....this is an El Nino year and the El Nino effects don't hit until after the new year--low snowpack is a major feature of El Nino late winters. So get your runs in now!


  1. 9 pm observation at Hurricane Ridge on the Mesonet logged a gust of 107 aptly named place.

  2. we are getting gusts btw 21-35 mph here in chehalis, but not alot of rain.

  3. getting hammered,
    strongest winds of the winter.

    really long lasting wicked gusts,
    west of olympia at oyster bay.

  4. I don't think this El Nino is going to act according to the normal standards that everyone is basing it off of. This could be a very interesting El Nino winter. IMO

  5. This is has been the best of the three storms out in the Woodinville/Redmond area. Most wind yet.

  6. Danger Jim is a joke, he stood in a 28mph gust in Mt Vernon and acted like it was going to blow him over. The tv anchor was also gushing over the 'ferocity' of the storm.

  7. This has definitely been the best of the storms in Seattle, too. I'm in the Wallingford neighborhood, and right around 6:30, we had a gust that was so strong that I could see my windowpanes bending. Anyone clocked that one?

    Hope folks up north don't have major damage. Good luck y'all.

    Cliff -- what constitutes a major windstorm?

  8. Tonight's storm is the third 55+ MPH wind event this week up here in B'ham. We'll see if we can make it 4/4 tomorrow night.

  9. Cliff, what exactly is a baroclinic band?

  10. East Bellevue checking in...
    Our best gust so far tonight was 41 mph; Monday's was 40, and last night's was only 29.

    We've "only" had .35" of rain in the past three hours though. ;-)

    It is crazy that I am getting USED to the sound of 30-40 mph gusts... and I am very glad we had the big Douglas firs windsailed this summer.

    I had to break out the calculator... Hurricane Ridge had a 123.1 mph gust? Holy mackerel!! That's some real wind!!

  11. The DP temperatures sure are remaining low. The strong southerly gales you're all experiencing must have some kind of drying downslope componant to them.

    I've noticed that last storm and tonight on the radar. There's kind of been a dry slot south and east of the metro and brighter reflectivity north. Kinda neat to recognize

  12. Sammamish this was essentially a non-event. The first of these three storms provided tons of wind, the next two got progressively easier.

  13. Bellingham guy is right. Though it doesn't make headlines, (like most storms up here) 3/4 for high wind warnings(possible 4/4 tonight) in the past week! Plus 3 wind advisories prior. Now it may not be a major windstorm but to have 3 storms with 55+G(with 4 on the way) is nothing but a nice bow to mother nature and her power. Add up the storms and you get as many tired emergency workers as one major storm. (power outages,etc). I wonder if it had been dry in the past month we would have been blaming it on the problem child?

  14. I still think we should be keeping an eye on Saturday's storm. I really think it's going to be stronger than anticipated. The NWS forecast discussion from 9:30pm last night confirms it's strengthening more than originally thought.

    As far as last night's storm goes, here in Lake Stevens it was a flop. We had good winds from about 4pm to 5pm (maybe a gust of about 50) then it died down quickly to breezy winds in the 20's which we had all day prior to the 4pm storm. We got our wind advisory after about 8pm, which by that time there was no reason for it, no wind.

    Plenty of rain though! Still raining now.

  15. Anna asked: Cliff -- what constitutes a major windstorm?

    That's my question, too. Plenty of damage up here in the San Juans -- and more threatened. Two buildings on our property damaged by falling trees last night. Power out for most of the night. This is plenty major for us.

    I sure hope Scott is wrong about Saturday's storm. We've had enough here, but it looks like Mother Nature doesn't care.

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  17. What is a major windstorm? That's a subjective thing of course, but for me it is the kind of storm we get once every 5 years or longer...the chanukah eve, the inauguration day storm, and the like. What we have had are typical annual storms..strong, but in no way exceptional and unusual..cliff

  18. I concur on last night being the strongest of the trio of 55mph windstorms (so far) this week. As I was falling asleep there were strong, sustained gusts more impressive than anything yet. I too am getting used to 40+ winds and could not stay awake past 11:00 during peak winds. This morning I found the BBQ and some other items blown over that had withstood the earlier storms. Forecasters are confident in a 4th storm.

  19. I would put 4 high wind storms (+55gmph) in a row for Bellingham a little unusual. Whatcom county EMS and PSE management have also said "I can't remember when we had this much wind events back to back" If the events happened in Seattle like they have been happing up here in the interior it would be "BIG NEWS"
    Yes it is not a major windstorm, but it is worth a journal entry.

  20. This current pattern reminds me of November 1998, when we had 4 50+ storms in two weeks. If tonight's storm pans out, that will be 4 storms in 5 days. That's fairly impressive.

  21. would someone enlighten me about saturday's storm?

  22. Cliff,

    The Seattle Weekly has a great article on you. Recommend you link to it on the blog:

    Watching the weather from Silverdale and Copalis Beach

  23. I hope Saturday's does not stengthen, I have a Boy Scout overnighter at Deception Pass that night!

  24. For Saturday, really I just have a 'feeling' it'll be stronger than expected. I'm no meteorologist, I don't really know much at all, but I did notice a few reports about Saturday's storm keep getting updated with it being stronger than first thought.

    Today's 4am NWS forecast discussion mentioned it was looking stronger than expected, but then the 9:30am discussion found here:

    ....barely makes mention of it at all (just says another storm on saturday and nothing else about it). So, I read that as either they are getting ready to dive into it and see if it is something to worry about or if it'll be a big miss and not worth mentioning.

    I also thought I read that Saturday's storm was suppose to land much farther south than the previous storms, too far south infact that there would be no major wind event for the greater puget sound. However, based on the tracks of all the previous storms they have all gone north, so now I wonder if this one will take a turn to the north and cause it to really kick up the winds for the more populated areas of western washington.

    Mostly it's me being paranoid, I've always found the strongest of our wind storms are the ones that sneak up on us and strengthen quickly during the last few hours.

    Again, I'm no weather expert, so take it as such. It's just me being paranoid (and maybe I've lived in the northwest too long!).

  25. By Josh:

    "I would put 4 high wind storms (+55gmph) in a row for Bellingham a little unusual. Whatcom county EMS and PSE management have also said "I can't remember when we had this much wind events back to back" If the events happened in Seattle like they have been happing up here in the interior it would be "BIG NEWS"
    Yes it is not a major windstorm, but it is worth a journal entry."

    As a fourty year Bellingham native, I don't find this very uncommon. In fact it seems to me that 20 years ago, it was even more common. I have always lived on the south hill near the bay, and in the 80's a big gust actually blew in a 100 year old window.

    Bellingham is always windy.

  26. I'm glad to see other people are interested in the frequency/severity of our recent wind events. It is possible to track all sorts of other data, but getting a feel for average wind over a week or two week period is harder to find. I would have to think our current stretch would rate high among any other week of previous years.

    Here in the San Juans, it hit 60 knots in FH and my friends on the West side recorded 73 knots. It was not only higher gusts, but really persistent.

    I love heavy weather!

  27. Nice article in Seattle Weekly. And I like the probcast concept, but I wish it would include wind as well as temps and rain. Exact temps aren't that important, I think, for most of us unless it's near the freezing mark. Precip is certainly critical for flood prone areas, of which we have many. But for other areas, wind is the big thing we need to worry about, and so far the probcast process apparently isn't paying any attention to wind.

    Are you planning to get that in the system anytime soon, Cliff?

  28. I'd like to see the ability to change the Probcast figures into metric. That would be really great for us who grew up using metric either in Canada or other parts of the world. I know alot of BC people read this blog and use the probcast page. I'm sure they would enjoy seeing the temps in Celsius as well. Thanks ;)

  29. I just wish out of all the storms lined up for the PNW, that one would make a storm-track further south and give the greater Puget Sound (Seattle/Tacoma) area a good windstorm. All these previous storms have been pretty much nothing at all, yet within reach, the North Interior is getting battered.

    Curse you Olympic Mountains. :)

  30. Death Valley looks good right now

    Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s. Light wind becoming south around 10 mph in the afternoon.

  31. I agree with Scott on the matter... models have consistently been bringing a strengthening surface low into Vancouver Island. While they show it to be around 990 and in central Vancouver Island, bring that a little to the south and make it a 980 low and you could be talking about High Wind for the area. I'm watching out for it.

  32. Well, no wind for us in lake stevens so far today despite the wind advisory. Just like it's been all week, anytime it's windy there's no advisory and when there is an advisory there's no wind. :)

    I hope some of you witnessed some good wind speeds today!

  33. National Weather Service forecast for Saturday for Lacey, WA

    Saturday: Rain. High near 46. South southwest wind between 9 and 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

    Saturday Night: Showers. Low around 39. Breezy, with a south southwest wind between 14 and 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

  34. Very interested in your weather Blog, it's on my desktop! URL given to me by someone on the UBC Gardening Forum from Washington State.

    We also bought your book,a Christmas present for my husband, who is a sailor and interested in weather. Was pleased to notice in it the description you had of the pearly ring around the sun through the clouds, a typical sight in Fall in this area in some types of weather... seen over the hills of Saanich. Was pleased to see your comment that the last two weeks of November, I think you said, are the wettest and windiest, for some reason... I have noticed that too -- December is usually more moderate. Why? We are originally from Nova Scotia, came out to the Saanich peninsula area near Victoria on Vancouver Island in BC in early 2006. Used to hurricanes there in August and September.

  35. I like it !

    I feel it !

    Best site !

    Realy Good !


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