Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Oregon Storm is Exploding

The meteorological-bomb storm is not disappointing-- in fact, it will probably be stronger than originally expected.

The visible satellite picture around 10:30 AM shows a beautiful storm developing, with the low center in the center of the swirl of clouds due west of the central Oregon Coast.


One way we can tell this storm is deepening rapidly is looking at the water vapor imagery, which shows the amount of water vapor in the upper troposphere.  Blue indicates lots of moisture, red/orange very little.  There is extreme dryness behind the storm that is the result of vigorous descent behind the low.  Such strong descent only occurs in rapidly deepening, intense storms.


The latest run of the European Center model predicts that the storm will bottom out at an impressive 969 hPa (or millibars) just offshore of the Oregon/CA border.

The latest, high-resolution run of the UW WRF model predicts gusts hitting 80 knots offshore around 4 PM (see below).  That's 92 mph.  The European Center is going to 100 mph.  Wow.


Around 11 AM, winds were already gusting to 50 mph along the coast from northern CA to southern Oregon.  This is just the beginning.

And at buoy 46027, just offshore of far northern CA, the pressure is plummeting (green line) as winds gust to over 45 knots (red line).


All hell is about to break loose along the southern Oregon/northern CA coast, as one of the strongest storms in years savages the region.  If you live there, taking shelter in locations not vulnerable to falling trees would be a very good idea.

_____________________________
Announcement:  I will be teaching Atmospheric Sciences 101 during winter quarter

If anyone is interested, either a UW student or outside folks using the ACCESS program, I will be teaching this general introduction to weather in Kane Hall (210) at 12:30 PM.




20 comments:

  1. Impressive. Too bad it wasn't coming it at around the Columbia Gorge

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  2. Oh, lord. I'm supposed to fly out of SeaTac into Medford tonight at 7 PM. Good times.

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  3. Isn't this quite unusual, to have such rapid development from a system dropping southeastward, rather than the Columbus Day-type storms moving northward along the coast? Any thoughts about the frequency of this type of origin.

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    1. I was reading a review of the Friday the 13th storm of Nov 13, 1981. In that, the weather folks described that storm, similar to this recent storm, as a 20 year event.

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    2. My reading of that series of two storms, at this link, below, indicates they both moved northward up the coast, not southward. https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/paststorms/wind.php

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  4. How do we get this storm named after Steve Poole?

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  5. No doubt the Sisskyou Pass will be closed completely, if it's not already. At least the ski run on Mt. Ashland will be able to open shortly.

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  6. I was in OR nine years ago when a big storm came in. I was in the Depoe Bay area and I have never seen the ocean angrier. The buoy off the mouth of Depoe Bay entrance, which is probably 10 feet tall was being tossed around like a rag doll. I checked later and there were 40 foot waves further off shore. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-UYc4Bq1HA

    Would be amazing storm watching this time too!

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  7. Hey people - Look at that storm, gaze in awe – that storm means business. You are witnessing a mid-latitude cyclone undergoing explosive cyclogenesis - a “bomb”. Uncommon so close by, yet it happens weekly in the vast Pacific. Twenty-four hours ago it was a small, innocuous atmospheric wave – now it’s a monster – a great mixer of warm moist air and cold dry air.

    The models nailed it. We should be spellbound by the power of math and physics,as the models correctly simulate this storm - now it's real! Decades ago this was just a dream. It seems like magic – and that is the potential of applied science.

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    1. @powderboobah - Yep. The pressure drops pretty fast when these get close too, which is a trip.

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  8. I bet the radar in that area will give us some great images...oh wait, what radar?

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  9. Max temp in NW Bellingham today was 42.8F - coolest daily max temp of the season so far.

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    1. I think it was colder in south and east king county today, weird. Max temp around 38 or 39f in south bellevue. Saw it max at 39f in Auburn today too.

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    2. It’ll often be warmer during Fraser outflow events in wind-prone whatcom county than in more sheltered locations to the south if the temperature of the outflow winds is not particularly cold as it has been in this event. It’s been continuously windy at my location for more than 24hr and the temp hasn’t dropped below 32F. Very little temp gradient between my location, Lynden and even on up to hope.

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  10. If the pressure gets down to 969, that is considered a Category 2 hurricane. Why aren’t they called hurricanes in the North Pacific?

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    1. 1. Hurricanes are ranked by wind speed. Which is more or less related to their central pressure, but that is not the main determinant.
      2. They aren't called Hurricanes because the process by which they function are vastly different. Hurricanes are "warm core" storms which denotes a tropical system.

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    2. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that can only form in very warm water conditions, so if a hurricane formed in the tropical East Pacific and drifted north I guess it could still be called a hurricane in the North Pacific if it retained it's strength somewhat. But this system off Oregon is a mid latitude cyclone born out of a zone of divergence due to a strong section of a jet stream in the middle latitudes. A hurricane is basically a bunch of tropical thunderstorms that formed due to convective energy from a warm ocean and banded together and became cyclonic.

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  11. I drove from Ashland to Crescent City today and it was an adventure. In the Rogue and Illinois valleys, heavy snow in places. Cars were off the road here and there. As I neared the coast, the rain became heavy and the wind very strong. I can't begin to estimate the wind speed during peak gusts. Lots of branches and trees down. All of Crescent City appears to be without power and has been for several hours now.

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  12. I lived in Humboldt County for 13 years. I don't even recall anything like this approaching from the north...

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  13. It's fascinating to learn about cyclones vs. hurricanes and the things people share about their experiences with them, Cliff. It has the makings of interesting reading. Perhaps a website for people leaving their stories (especially natives to the region), a book or other compilation. I would be interested in reading about storm facts and culture regionally compared to other parts of the world.

    I'm thankful for this blog and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

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