cold temps

10am Tuesday…

Everything proceeded according to plan last night as a very cold (for October) and dry airmass blasted through the Pacific Northwest.   This morning it’s cold and windy across the entire region.  In Portland the air temperature is 37, and the wind is gusting to around 40 mph.  Wind chill temps (what it feels like when you combine wind + temperature) are in the 20s in Portland!  You aren’t crazy, the morning commute really did feel the same as December or January.

web_windchill_metro

What’s ahead?

  • Gusty east wind will continue today across the metro area and many other locations.  Not much damage because speeds will generally stay below 40 mph.  Just expect a few more limbs over powerlines and lots of leaves blowing aroudn. The wind dies down tonight away from the Gorge.
  • Temperatures slowly crawl towards 50 degrees.  If we stay under that 50 degree mark, it’ll be our coldest October day in 16 years.  Quite an impressively cold airmass considering it’ll be sunny all day!
  • Windchill will be an issue through the evening commute, not dangerous but annoying.
  • Areas that go calm tonight will see lows between 18-25 degrees west of the Cascades.  Windy areas stay in the 30s east metro and in western Gorge windy locations.
  • Wednesday turns a little warmer with wind confined to the usual east wind spots in metro area.

The “arctic front” passage was one of the best I’ve seen in my decades of forecasting here; both east and west of the Cascades.  A sharp shift in wind direction, big drop in dewpoints, and sudden increase in speed.  Plus it moved very quickly and didn’t linger. The Dalles gusted to 40 mph…from the east.  Very unusual.  It arrived suddenly at my home just as I was parking the car after work.  At PDX, the wind coming down off the Cascades arrived suddenly around 12:30am.  Models did a spectacular job (this time) portraying the sequence of meteorological events.  The midnight to 2am arrival time in metro area was right on.

Peak gusts have generally been in the 25-45 mph range, right on target as well.  The highest gust in the metro area is 50 mph on the I-205 Glen Jackson Bridge.  PDX is close behind with a 45 mph gust (click for a better view)

Capture

This is the coldest October airmass in our area since 2003.  Keep in mind the current metro temps are “well-mixed”, meaning this isn’t just the usual surface nighttime cooling.  It only gets colder as you go up.  If precipitation suddenly arrived over us, it would snow down to sea-level.  This is how we would get late October snow or freezing rain.  But no clouds or precip anywhere nearby so we are clear.

web_metrotemps

The mountains are frigid this morning; temps in the teens and windchills to zero or below.  Winter in October, but bright and sunny.

Current Conditions Mt Hood Temps with ODOT Cam

Because the wind hasn’t been TOO strong, I see there aren’t too many power outages.  Under 2,000 PGE customers out at 10am.  During the November 2014 downslope windstorm many tens of thousands lost power.  This one is quite a bit weaker.

Stay warm today!  See you at 4pm on FOX12 OREGON.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

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