February 10, 2017

Hold on to your hats! Western Washington winds are about to blow!

Update:  here are the maximum gusts yesterday (mph).  In exposed locations, there were gusts to the mid-50s.  Lots of gusts to 30-40 mph around Puget Sound, with elevated and water locations getting to 40-50 mph.  Windy in the mountains.


A tight, but strong, low center is about to pass north of the Puget Sound region, bringing strong wind gusts that could get as high as 50 mph in exposed locations.

The UW WRF forecast model shows the predicted low at 8 AM (see below), with a large pressure difference on its periphery (solid lines are isobars, lines of constant pressure)

 By 1 PM, the low is north of Puget Sound, with the area of large pressure gradient right over western WA.  That means wind.  

To illustrate, here is the sustained or average wind predicted for 1 PM.  Around Seattle there will be sustained winds of 25-30 knots (29-35 mph).  The gusts will be more.

The swirl of precipitation associated with the low is apparent on the latest (8:15 AM) radar image off the NW WA coast.

And the 8 AM satellite imagery clearly shows the swirl offshore.

So batten down the hatches and get ready...the wind is about to blow.  City Light and the other utilities should get read...some folks are about to lose their power.

The Northwest Weather Workshop, the big annual weather gathering in the Northwest, will take place on March 3-4, 2017 in Seattle (NOAA Sand Point Facility).   Everyone is welcome.  For more information and to register, go to https://www.atmos.washington.edu/pnww/


  1. This has been a fun week. After 5 years finally got some snow, then followed up with heavy rain, thunderstorm, wind and then even more wind!

    I wish every week was like this.

  2. Weather.gov is confused. They say 8-14 mph for the afternoon forecast. Yet on the same forecast page they link to a warning that says 20-35 mph with 50 mph gusts.

    Yesterday, I don't think we even had the warning. Weather.gov simply forecast a similar range (maybe it was 10-15 mph, I don't remember exactly), yet the 30 minute log on their site was currently reporting 38 mph sustained and 52 mph gusts.

    I know you've said the NWS doesn't have the resources to refine their local forecasts as well as many other organizations, but that's a really dramatic difference.

  3. Winds peaked over 80mph in Ferndale this afternoon at The Old Jeffcott Place: KWAFERND7. Did not seem that bad out in Lynden thought the snow drifts north of Lynden are something.

  4. "I wish every week was like this" ~ hahaha! Scott K, you must not be a farmer in north Whatcom County. Try it on for a day and see if you feel the same. Having said that, I understand the appreciation for Weather, capital "W". :-D

  5. We got the fierce winds but certainly not the fiercest we've seen in the last several years. But, we had more downed branches than ever and three downed (but dead) trees (snags, so the woodpeckers are pissed). Plus we lost the other half (half of it blew off last year) of a big forked fir. I've been trying to figure out what was different with this wind? I will be playing Pick Up Sticks all weekend!

  6. My dog usually starts shedding her fur in January. She started today.

  7. Re: The upcoming NW Weather Workshop Agenda

    Cliff, thanks for the link to the Workshop. This single-track event is packed with interesting topics, and one session in particular caught my eye:

    "11:00-11:15 Weather and Community Organizing: The Challenges of Building a Weather-Ready Nation in Undeserved Populations. Logan Johnson, NWS, Seattle Washington"

    I'd attend this one to find out just who the "undeserved" (undeserving?) populations are in our Novus ordo seclorum!


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