The Aftermath

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The marine push event of last Thursday appears to have resulted in the deaths of three individuals...all of which were on the water that evening. Strong marine pushes generally follow periods of above normal temperatures...which tempt people to get on the water. It is easy to forget how quickly things can change around here.

And lets be honest about the forecast. The official predictions and model forecasts were clear that there was going to be a push, but no one expected it to be as strong as it was. I have studied these events extensively and have published several papers on them and it was only in the hour or two before that I understood how severe it would be (thus my blog entry about "all hell breaking loose." ) The key warning was the increase in the onshore pressure difference early that evening to unprecedented levels. Would it be useful for my profession to create a warning capability based on this pressure difference that was available on the web? Or the NWS could put out a warning on their NOAA weather radio on that basis?

This event has stimulated intense debate in my department. To what degree were the extraordinary winds the result of the unusual onshore pressure gradient and to what degree was the gust front propagating north from the thunderstorms in Oregon important. My gut feeling is the former was key. However, I plan on starting a detailed investigation of this event to really understand its origins.

Finally, a coastal weather radar would have been very useful for understanding what happened. Rain was falling on the southern WA and northern OR coasts and would have allowed the radar to paint out the winds.
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