Washington Coast Could See Hurricane-Force Gusts, Says Cliff Mass

by on May 19, 2010

The National Weather Service has a wind advisory out for the Seattle area, in effect from 1 p.m. today until midnight:

LIGHT NORTHEAST WINDS ACROSS THE REGION THIS MORNING WILL SHIFT TO SOUTHERLY MIDDAY AND RISE QUICKLY DURING THE EARLY AFTERNOON…WITH LOCAL WINDS OF 30 MPH AND GUSTS TO 45 MPH CONTINUING THROUGH LATE EVENING. THE WINDS WILL EASE AFTER MIDNIGHT.

It’s a little disconcerting, the all-caps format from the NWS, isn’t it? You can almost hear the Telex chattering as they stare into a monochrome CRT monitor. Anyway, expect wind, cooling temperatures, and some rain in your face as the afternoon progresses.

Cliff Mass has been watching this storm’s development–it’s primarily aimed at the coast, and models show an even stronger storm on the way than forecasted yesterday:


Here is the latest forecast for 5 PM tonight…pretty amazing. 989 mb low and a huge pressure gradient to its south and southeast. The simulation indicates even stronger winds than last night, with areas immediately offshore experiencing 60 kt sustained winds and hurricane-force gusts.

Yesterday he explained the wind-generating dynamics. While the low moving in doesn’t pack the punch of a winter storm, our springtime “environmental pressure” is high, so there’s a big differential between the two air masses. That, friends, means wind with a capital W! The coast will most likely see power outages–and we could see local outages, too, from small trees or big branches.

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