For the 15 years I’ve lived in the Snoqualmie Valley, some of the worst wind events have been very localized – i.e. gaps winds – where there is high pressure to the east and an incoming low pressure system off the coast to the west. In an attempt to equalize the pressure, wind is sucked east to west through the mountain passes, often creating super windy conditions in towns close to Snoqualmie Pass, with areas father west much calmer.
So this morning, after a night of the wind and rain pounding the bedroom windows and seeing a weather alert in my inbox, I figured the strong, windy conditions were being felt across the region.
But the High Wind Warning doesn’t go into effect until 2PM on Thursday, December 3rd, expiring at 10PM – and the strong winds started howling here last night. In fact, about 1000 homes on Snoqualmie Ridge lost power Wednesday evening, December 2nd. Sounds like crews had the power restored around 9PM, working in the pouring rain and wind.
KOMO News Weather Producer Scott Sistek explained [via Twitter] that overnight weather models increased the strength of an incoming storm, now predicting possible 60MPH gusts in Western Washington. And peak gusts are expected right in time for the evening commute from 5PM-7PM.
According to the wind warning, “Southerly winds expected to increase to 25-40MPH late Thursday afternoon or evening, then switch to southwesterly before easing late in the evening, Gusts to 60mph are possible.”
Meanwhile in the Snoqualmie Valley area, Mount Si High School picked up a 41MPH gust overnight. And Snoqualmie Pass is messy too, with gusty winds west of the summit, snow, freezing rain, and areas of poor visibility.
The warm front that brought the rain (almost a half-inch) overnight and this morning will move on this afternoon, setting the stage for the predicted stronger storm to move toward us Thursday afternoon/evening.
As observed in past gap winds events, as the low pressure system moves north and inland, gusty SE winds in the Snoqualmie Valley usually ease, but only time will tell.
Keep the umbrella handy. It will also be pretty wet through early next week, with possible heavy rains predicted over the weekend.