September 03, 2021

Why doesn't the Pacific Northwest Get Hit by Hurricanes and Tropical Storms? And the Latest Forecast. All in My New Podcast.

The U.S. Southeast and the East Coast have been pummelled by tropical storms and hurricanes this year, but not one has hit the West Coast.  Why?

If you look at a map of the historical hurricane and tropical storm tracks one notes huge numbers over the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic...but an absence along our coast.  Why?


The answer to these questions is found in my latest podcast, as well as the forecast for this, the Labor Day, weekend.

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12 comments:

  1. Showing ignorance here. What was the Columbus Day store of 1962? I thought I was told that was a hurricane, or the remnants of one. And probability of that again is in the 1 in 1,000 range I would guess.

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    1. The Columbus Day storm can be traced back to a typhoon (Freda) which developed in the western Pacific earlier in the month, moved north and weakened, with the remnants getting caught up in a strong westerly jet stream across the north Pacific. It re-developed into what is called an extra-tropical storm, the ones that typically hit the west coast in fall and winter, and have a different structure than typhoons /hurricanes. It developed into a very strong extra-tropical storm upon nearing the west coast on Columbus Day and it's strength and path resulted in the strong hurricane-strength winds that hit the Northwest but it was not a hurricane all the way across the Pacific. How much the fact that it started out as a typhoon and may have had some features carried with it as it moved across the Pacific that helped it develop later into such a strong extra-tropical storm, will probably never be known.

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    2. Yes, typhoon Freda. It was a cat 3 or something then went extratropical when it hit the northwest

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    3. Although it reached hurricane wind speeds, before striking the West coast, it made what is known as an extratropical transition, and essentially became one of these storms we normally get, albeit stronger than an others so far recorded. These storms no longer get their energy from vertical temperature difference (temperature decline with altitude), but rather from horizontal temperature difference.

      I would be interested in what the temperature was during the storm, though: Cliff, any comments?

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    4. Can't say about the Columbus day storm as it was 3 years before I was born, but from most wind storms we get, in particular, the Pineapple Express type of storm where the winds come in from Hawaii, it often is quite mild, with temps as high as the mid 60's during the storm itself and I would expect that to also having occurred with the Columbus Day storm as well.

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    5. Just to be clear, there is no material difference between a hurricane and a typhoon- just location. You'd be correct called Freda a hurricane or calling Ida or Katrina a typhoon.

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  2. Sometime I want to experience a proper hurricane. I lived n Connecticut 1961 to 1972, but it was a relatively quiet period as far as hurricanes, though we did get some remnants (Dora, Agnes) and I was in Puerto Rico as a small child when Donna brushed by, but we were in the outer storm bands.

    But to be a storm chaser, one would have to monitor the weather and fly standby on very little notice. Something that will probably have to wait until I retire. From Cliff's last post, it isn't going to happen in the Seattle area.

    Either that or retire in the Caribbean.

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  3. East Coast has the Gulf Stream, we don’t

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  4. Will it ever rain here in the Seattle area?? :o

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    1. That's what I want to know. When will we see a good soaking rain?

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  5. I think, though, that hurricanes are better than forest fires. A hurricane once in a while would do the West Coast good. Too bad it can't happen. Hurricanes strike in late summer- precisely when fires are at their worst. Think of how much good six inches of rain would do!

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  6. Not enough warm water in the Northeast Pacific.

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Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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