Dry & dangerous easterly wind arriving this morning as planned power outages begin
Expect 36 hours of high fire danger, then back to “normal” Saturday night
The forecast is turning out as expected this morning. Cool Canadian air (cool by early September standards) has surged south into Eastern Washington and Oregon. That’s dense, heavier air = higher pressure. That air is surging over the Cascades and through the Columbia River Gorge; the dreaded late summer “east wind pattern”. This is always a problem over/west of the Cascades if fuels are dry and that’s the case this year...no rain for most of us in two months. If we would have seen showers a few days ago this pattern would not be a big issue; each early fall is different. Last year wasn’t a problem.
Portland General Electric has 10 Public Safety Power Shutoff areas and several of those have been turned off as of 10am. Yellow = no power right now.
My power was shut off around 5:15 this morning, so this is one of the few weather blog posts written under the power of my trusty portable generator.
- We do NOT have a windstorm on the way...this is nothing like Labor Day 2020
- This is a relatively normal early fall season easterly wind episode, which still means plenty of wind
- BUT, this is the first time that power companies have decided to implement widespread power shut offs, thus the big news story.
- These shutoffs only affect 3-4% of all PGE customers! These are mainly very rural/forested areas.
- Easterly wind will pick up in the hills/mountains the rest of today and peak tonight/Saturday morning in those areas. Gusts could reach 30-45 mph at times in exposed foothill locations
- Easterly wind will be strongest this afternoon in the lowlands, die down tonight, then be gusty again through Saturday morning. Gusts 25-35 mph are likely in most populated areas during this time.
- All easterly wind (and extreme fire danger) ends around sunset or so Saturday evening. THIS EVENT WILL BE OVER IN 36 HOURS
- Expect to smell smoke at times along with a hazy/yellow/orange sky through tomorrow
I can smell smoke this morning at home, due to Canadian and Eastern Washington wildfires. That northeast wind is sending their “smell” our way. Please don’t call 911 because you smell smoke. There is a lot of smoke now moving around the region due to numerous fires..this will be with us through tomorrow
Smoke forecasts show not just high-level smoke (yellow sky), but it’ll be getting mixed into the lower levels the next 36 hours. Air quality is headed downhill. Note lots of smoke from Idaho and NE Oregon fires making it west of the Cascades on Saturday
Smoke modeling loops/imagery is available all summer/fall long on our FOX12WEATHER app...make sure you have that on your phone or device.
As mentioned above, so far PGE hasn’t activated all the power shutoff areas. That’s likely due to the relatively weak wind so far. I see Pacific Power has NOT shutdown any areas at this point. That’s good...no need to shut things down until a gusty/dry wind shows up. Check out Niagara weather station (in the North Santiam Canyon). East wind has arrived, but not too strong. Humidity IS way down...in the teens. Notice this is one of dozens of new weather stations installed in forested/foothill locations by the utility companies. Great information for meteorologists AND the public
That’s it for now. We have a wide choice of newscasts to watch either on your TV or online https://www.kptv.com/livestream/
You can catch me there all late afternoon and evening long!
Copyright 2022 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.