Destruction Hits Two Sacred Weather Locations

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I was worried last week that when I revealed the secrets of the Devil's Weather Triangle near Napavine that some of the weather deities would be displeased.  Such are the risks I take for this blog.  Unfortunately, my fears were realized and two of the most sacred weather sites of the Northwest have been struck and damaged by sudden and unexpected severe weather.  Not strong enough to destroy them, but enough to deliver a message.  This can not be consider a coincidence.

My Napavine Triangle blog went out late Tuesday, and by Thursday morning a terrible fate struck my favorite weather-themed seafood restaurant:  Ivar's Mukilteo landing.  A strong westerly wind surge 

pushed down the Strait of Juan de Fuca early Thursday morning, and the combination of large wind-driven waves and high tide resulted in strong wave action pushing under the restaurant.  The water shoved the floor of the bar up by 8 inches and water surged upward through the unlatched hatch in the floor (see image).  A geyser hit the ceiling, inundating Ivar's pride with brine and blowing out a window.  This happened around 5 AM in the morning, according Bob Donegan, CEO of Ivar's.  Fortunately, a maintenance worker was in the restaurant at the time, and at considerable personal peril, closed and locked the hatch during a lull in the waves.  He deserves a years worth of chowder.  A KOMO-TV story and video can be accessed by clicking on the image.


Using considerable resources, Ivar's brought in a large team to repair and dry the restaurant and on Friday it reopened, to the relief of many.  As an aside, the ferry Cathlamet came in to the dock around 5:55 AM and the captain (Torger Skolman--I AM NOT MAKING UP THIS NAME) had to run the engines at half speed ahead in the dock to keep the ship form heaving in the slip and popping the auto apron off the car deck.  A piling contractor in Everett Harbor measured gusts to 47 mph.

    As many of you know, this restaurant was destroyed in another (and stronger) westerly wind surge through the Strait in October 2003.   For this week's event, we started with relatively high tides (see tide table below), with the peak around 7 AM.

On Thursday morning, a low pressure system moved eastward over southern B.C., resulting in a large pressure difference building down the Strait (rising to about 6 hPa between Quillayute and Bellingham by 3 AM, and nearly as high at 4 AM).  Air accelerated down the Strait, producing strong westerly winds over this gap and immediately downstream (see wind plot at 4 AM below).   So with strong

winds building the waves, relatively high tides, and northwesterly winds pushing water towards the restaurant, Ivar's Mukilteo Landing restaurant was in Neptune's crosshairs.

But I was still worried.  Was the sacrifice of Ivar's enough to placate the anger of the weather gods?  Would they take on my most cherished weather site, the Langley Hill radar?  The answer came quickly.
The Langley Hill Radar: Exposed and vulnerable
 On Saturday morning, the radar showed a line of intense precipitation approaching the coast (see image at 2:35 AM, 9:53 UTC).  Reds indicate very intense precipitation;  such precipitation rates are often associated with thunderstorms.

Sure enough the U.S. lightning observation network (which can determine the location of lightning strikes by the electromagnetic radiation being emitted by them) indicated a line of lightning strikes associated with the strong radar echos (see below, for half hour ending 2:30 AM)

As the band of high precipitation and lightning passed over the Langley Hill site, the radar ceased to function, and was taken out of service for several hours until National Weather Service personnel could restore its function.   A taste for the intensity of the lightning could be sampled by this wonderful image from Greg Johnson's webcam near Hansville (see below) at 1:36 AM.

I suspect there is only one way to stop the meteorological carnage: we must place some sort of sacrificial offering at the top of the Langley Hill tower.  But what?  Or whom?

3 PM Monday Update:  KING-5 Jim Forman is now leading the polls for the great honor of appeasing the weather gods.  With the parka, of course!

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