Region smacked again; stormy streak continues today

Region smacked again; stormy streak continues today

SEATTLE -- Let's see, on Sunday it was just a good old fashioned wind storm. Then when the second one came Monday night, it was a "1-2 punch". When a third barreled in Wednesday night, it was a "stormy hat trick".

Now, we better come up with what to call four (Quizzical Quartet?) -- and while we're at it, a title for a fifth might not be a bad idea either (The Pentastorm?)-- as two more wind events now loom for Thursday and again on Saturday.

I think we're pretty familiar with the script, but just in case you just woke up from a 6 day nap, the third storm raked the northern interior locations of Western Washington with an incredible, relentless wind that featured frequent gusts over 50 mph.

Some of the worst damage was reported on San Juan Island, where an unofficial gust of 63 mph was recorded by a resident on the west side of the island, while Friday Harbor's Airport peaked at 60 mph amid several gusts of over 50 mph spread over at least a five hour period Wednesday evening.

In San Juan County, Lopaz, Orcas and Shaw Islands were left completely in the dark, as was the west side of San Juan Island. A spokesperson for Orcas Power and Light cited "extensive damage" as the cause of the outages, and said the islands will likely be without power until midday Thursday.

Snohomish PUD reported 5,000 without power in Snohomish County, mostly the Stanwood/Clearview area with some scattered outages in Edmonds.

In Seattle, City Light said about 400 customers were without power in the city's Queen Anne neighborhood as well as Shoreline. Earlier in the evening, about 4,600 had lost power in the Rainier Beach/Beacon Hill area. Most of the lights were back on by Thursday morning.

Clallam County PUD said some 12,000 customers in the west end of its service area - Forks, Clallam Bay, Sekiu and Neah Bay - were without power due to a problem on the BPA transmission line between Port Angeles and Forks.

And Grays Harbor PUD reported an outage affecting approximately 4,300 customers in the South Beach area, including Westport, Grayland and Tokeland. Most of those customers had power restored after midnight.

How Windy Was It?

For this storm, the trophies all go to the North Sound, where several locations reported gusts over 60 mph.

Here are some of the peak gusts through midnight:

  • San Juan Island (unofficial): 63 mph
  • Smith Island: 62 mph
  • Bellingham: 61 mph
  • Friday Harbor: 60 mph
  • Hoquiam: 59 mph
  • S. Fidalgo Island: 57 mph
  • Anacortes: 55 mph
  • Oak Harbor: 55 mph
  • West Seattle (Alki Beach): 51 mph
  • Olympia: 45 mph
  • Everett: 44 mph
  • Tacoma/Fort Lewis: 44 mph
  • Port Angeles: 43 mph
  • Forks: 40 mph

Fourth Time's The Charm?

But just when you thought we couldn't possibly host more than three windstorms in a week, here comes a fourth set to blow through on Thursday. It too is now on par with the past three.

In fact, the National Weather Service, likely weary of having to post, then expire, then repost all these wind warnings, has now simply extended the High Wind Warnings along the coast and north interior all the way through midnight Friday morning. No, we won't get getting 58 mph gusts all that time, but it's indicative of just how fast and furious these storms are going.

So yes, another period of southeast winds of 25-40 sustained, gusting to 60 is possible, about on the same time frame afternoon/evening time frame as Wednesday, just 24 hours later.

And as expected, the Wind Advisory has been reposted for the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Everett-Bellevue area, as well as the Hood Canal region. Winds here could gust again to 40-45 mph, but this again won't be as big a deal as it is for our neighbors to our north and west.

(I know a lot of you around the Seattle area are wondering what all the hubub is as 35-45 mph gusts aren't too uncommon in November, but the main Seattle/Tacoma area has been largely protected by the Olympic Mountains and have missed out on most of the strong winds... and count your blessings.)

This storm calms down Thursday night into early Friday. But there might be yet another one Saturday night. We'll leave that one for later. I think you're probably on windstorm overload as it is.


Aside from the wind, this fourth storm will keep it quite wet Thursday.

Flood Warnings are now in effect for the Boagchiel, Skokomish, and Satsop Rivers. The Skokomish is expected to go on major flood status again, while the other two are just minor flooding.

Flood Watches are still going for all other rivers in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Thurston, Clallam and Jefferson Counties, but these might be expanded again depending on how much rain falls.

Predictions remain for another 5-10" of rain in the Olympic Mountains, 3-6" over the North Cascades and Willapa Hills, and 1-3" across the rest of the Cascades by Friday morning.

Mountain Snow:

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the Cascades through 4 p.m. Thursday for another 6-12" in the higher elevations. Snow levels will continue to rise to about 5,000 feet by Thursday evening, but cold air will remain trapped in the passes, keeping a wintry mix going there.

Overnight, another 4-8" of snow is expected above 5,000 feet.

But we're not done here yet. Another storm is coming in Friday, and while this one is not as exciting in the rain and wind category, it will be a colder storm and thus with falling snow levels, A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from Friday afternoon through late Friday night for the potential for several inches of more snow.

And then it calms down, right?

Well, not exactly. We have two more weaker systems back-to-back Friday morning and late evening, these storms are successively weaker to where winds are not a concern, it'll just keep it kinda rainy.

Sure, Friday's rain and breezes will seem relatively like drizzle and puffs, but believe it or not, another storm rolls in on late Saturday. This one is moderately potent and forecasting models have varied widely on a track but overall, this is not too extreme -- somewhere between Friday's duo and the past three already this week.

So that's roughly seven storms since Sunday night -- there can't be more? Well, maybe one more. Long range models shoe perhaps another gusty day on next Monday then finally -- FINALLY -- the spigot is shut off. In fact, some models hint Tuesday might actually be dry!

Interesting weather stats:

In Bellingham, in the 74 hours since 10 p.m. on Sunday (thru midnight Thurs am) they have seen 40+ mph gusts in 23 of those hours, with 11 hours of gusts over 50+ In Oak Harbor since 9 a.m. on Sunday (87 hours), they've seen gusts at 40+ for 47 hours (54% of the time!) that includes a stretch of 28 near-consecutive hours (just one hour when it was 38 mph) and between 9 a.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday and a 9.5 hour stretch from 2:30p to midnight Wednesday. 10 hours overall had 50+ gusts. And in Friday Harbor, where it was really bad Wednesday night, from 2-11pm they had at least one gust each hour over 40 mph with a 6 hr period between 5-11 pm where it hit 50+ mph.