Major Storm Hits

| comments

This storm has so many interesting and intense features I just wanted to update everyone on the action.  Here is the latest infrared satellite photo--simply impressive.  You can see the swirling clouds around the low center, which is now crossing northern Vancouver Island...exactly what the models have been saying for a few days.  Cold unstable air is circling around from the west (the pattern of cloud and clear skies that has a mottled appearance). 

It appears that last night's runs underpredicted the strength of the system a bit...the pressure at Solander Island, on the northern Vancouver Island coast dropped to 962 hPa.  This is a very intense low for our neck of the woods.  The more intense storms on record only get down to the low 950s.

And the wave heights did not disappoint.  Some of the buoys have shown significant wave heights of over 30 ft!  Here are a few examples at buoy 41 off the WA coast and buoy 50 off the Oregon coast:

As I noted in previous blogs, the NWS Wavewatch III model indicated the potential for a big wave was correct.

By the way, if you ever want to check out coastal conditions a really great site is SurfWA.

And the Langley Hill radar on the WA coast provided its value again, indicating the approach of the front from offshore.  Look at radar image from around 6 AM this morning...the front is seen offshore...the line of convection that has a series of intense elements (cores) and weaker areas (gaps).  Classic ocean frontal signature.   And by tracking it we knew exactly when this key feature was going to make landfall hours ahead (more on this in a future blog).

 And winds?  On the coast, winds of up to 50-70 mph were commonplace, such as the 60 kts at buoy 41 off the central WA coast:

More impressively, we are experiencing one of the strongest wind events of the past few years over NW Washington and SE Vancouver Island.  Winds at Trial Island, just off of Victoria have gusted to at least 60 knots (69 mph).  Buoy 88, over the eastern side of the Strait to 50 kts (see below)

Winds are fairly strong (30-40 mph) over Puget Sound, but weaker over land.   Here are the 7 AM winds from the Kingston Ferry...winds (sustained) to 36 knots. Note how much weaker the winds are closer to the shore where they are coming off of land.  Water is aerodynamically fairly smooth and allow strong acceleration.

Anyway, an impressive storm and well predicted.   It is perhaps ironic that we have gotten so good at predicting major Pacific storms coming off the ocean, yet have so much trouble in getting minor snow events correct.  Twenty years ago we were unable to forecast major cyclones coming off the ocean...we not only can do that now, but have great skill in determining the resulting  local wind patterns.  Two decades have changed everything.  Don't forget that when you listen to a weatherman jokes or view a Subaru commercial ("you don't need a weatherman if you have a Subaru").
Share this article :
Support : Creating Website | Johny Template | Mas Template
Copyright © 2011. The Weather - All Rights Reserved
Template Created by Creating Website Published by Mas Template
Proudly powered by Blogger