Just Another Windy Monday

Just Another Windy Monday
KING COUNTY - Windy weather continues in the Cascade foothills and southern King County for the third-straight day Monday. We've had winds generally blowing 30-40 mph up there, with frequent gusts to 50-55 mph. North Bend did report a gust of 64 mph late Sunday morning.

But it's not just the foothills that are breezy. Even the greater Seattle area has had gusts as high as 44 mph. We've had several reports of trees down around Enumclaw, Kent, Maple Valley, Covington and North Bend. About 2,000-3,000 lost power in southeast King County.

Windy weather continues in the Cascade foothills and southern King County for the third-straight day Monday. We've had winds generally blowing 30-40 mph up there, with frequent gusts to 50-55 mph. North Bend did report a gust of 64 mph late Sunday morning.

But it's not just the foothills that are breezy. Even the greater Seattle area has had gusts as high as 44 mph. We've had several reports of trees down around Enumclaw, Kent, Maple Valley, Covington and North Bend. About 2,000-3,000 lost power in southeast King County.

In Kent, a tree toppled into David Kirkham's garage.

"Well, looks like we get a new roof," he laughed.

This isn't the first time for David. The same thing happened last year, during a similar windstorm.

"Just very blessed, that we weren't here (this time), because the noise from last time when it fell, I still remember that tree fell smack dab in front of the living room... and oh... it's too scary," he said.

Just a few blocks down from the Kirkhams, the wind came in so strong, it split a tree at its base, blocking the front door. It barely missed the house.

''It sounded like thunder, a big old crack, and then a boom on the ground," said Michael MacCinnes. "When we get the winds like that, we get a lot of debris, we get a lot of branches from the trees in the area."

In all, the Kent Fire Department says they responded to over 100 windstorm related incidents, including nine homes which were struck by falling trees. At least one home was severely damaged. Fortunately, no one was hurt in any of these incidents.

They also responded to several calls of trees into power lines and wires on roadways.

As to what's causing the winds, we still have a big dome of cold air parked in Eastern Washington. Since cold air is really dense, it also creates high pressure. Meanwhile, an approaching low pressure center offshore is creating a big pressure difference between east (high) and west (low).

The Cascades act like a wall, but just like how air rushes out of a small hole in a tire, the gaps in the mountains (the passes) allow the air to shoot through at high speeds. (And that cold air in Eastern Washington is a big part of that. It's why we don't usually get east wind events in the summer. If anything, it works in the opposite direction!)

(If you want to do a little "do it yourself" forecasting, check out this link which shows the current difference in pressure between several locations. The one on the bottom "SEA-EAT" is Seattle to Wenatchee and is a good measure. The greater the negative number, the stronger the east winds (meaning -10 is stronger than -5.) Once we get stronger than -7, you really start to notice the winds. We were at roughly -15 Monday morning, which is very strong..)

The pressure differences were expected to stay strong though midday Monday before tapering off Monday afternoon. But while the winds will eventually slow some, we're expecting the winds to at least be in the 15-30 mph range from the next few days.

The long range forecast is looking a whole lot more Seattle-like. Check the KOMO Weather Center to read up on the return of the usual Seattle December gray.

KOMO 4 News' George Howell contributed to this report.