A Great Historical Dust Storm and FINALLY a Warm Day

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Today is the 80th anniversary of the greatest dust storm in the history of our area. On 21 April 1931, very high pressure developed over southwest Canada and eastern Montana, while low pressure deepened over the intermountain west (see figure, with sea level pressures).

Between these two features a HUGE pressure difference developed, which led to very strong winds...we are talking about 50-60 mph on both sides of the Cascades! These strong winds combined with a previous period of warm, dry weather and recently tilled fields to result in an immense dust storm.

Dust over the Columbia Basin turned the sun into a weak, reddish orb, car lights were needed during the daytime, and dust extended to 10,000 ft. Dust pushed westward through Columbia Gorge and lower Cascade passes, extending artificial darkness over the Willamette Valley. Continuing its eastward movement, the dust pushed out into the Pacific, where the freighter Maui ran into the cloud 500 miles off the coast!

The winds during this event were so strong that thousands of trees were uprooted and power failures extended over both sides of the Cascades. Someone should make a movie about that event.

Dust storms still strike our region, particularly eastern Washington during the spring. Such storms often result in multiple car accidents due to the poor visibility and yes, some motorists follow WAY TO CLOSE. Not any of you, of course. Here is some video of such an event:


And sometimes tumbleweed come with the dust:

And now the good news. The lastest model forecasts suggest that Saturday is going to be extraordinary--sunny and the warmest yet this year. REACHING INTO THE MID-60s over western Washington. Even upper 60s on the eastern side of the Sound due to easterly flow off the Cascades. Here are the forecast temperatures Saturday afternoon from UW PROBCAST:

Unfortunately, the sun won't last...with rain coming in on Sunday. So make your plans for Saturday.
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