Weather "Play-by-Play" Of Dec. 15, 2006 windstorm

Weather "Play-by-Play" Of Dec. 15, 2006 windstorm
By: Scott Sistek

A list of weather-related events as they occurred in real-time during the windstorm of Dec. 14-15, 2006.

1:00 a.m.: Sea-Tac records gust of 69 mph, setting the all time record for fastest wind speed recorded at the airport. Old record was 64 set during the Jan. 20, 1993 Inauguration Day Storm. Oh, and the gradient is up to 22.3.

12:05 a.m.: The new gradient numbers are in, and we just hit 21.4. To translate, the current pressure in Portland is 29.64", and in Bellingham, it's 28.98" Also, Seattle joined the "60" club with a 60 mph gust. Bellingham to 55, Montesano 68. Other gusts have been below earlier levels.

11:45 p.m.: OK, a little bit of weather "geek speak" for those still up and have power and feel inclined to check in here. One way to measure a wind storm is to look at the pressure "gradient" -- it's the difference in air pressure that makes wind. The larger the gradient, the stronger the winds. One example we like to use is the gradient between Portland and Bellingham. Under normal days, it's around 0-5 millibars. During the Inauguration Day Storm, it was 21.5 -- a 60 year record. During the windstorm Wednesday, it was 12.2.

Right now? it's at 19.6 and building. Amazing....

11:24 p.m.: Viewer writes in from near Sequim, where it is dead calm. Port Angeles also reports a 0 mph wind. The south winds are blocked by the Olympics for now, but winds will greatly increase once the winds shift to the west.

11:20 p.m. - Peak Gusts at 11 p.m.: Tacoma 69, Alki Beach 67, Everett 66, Whidbey Island 54, Bellingham 52, Seattle 54, Hoquiam 58.

10:30 p.m. - Flood Warnings issued for Tolt, Snoqualmie, Puyallup, Nisqually, Cowlitz, Skookumchuck, Chehalis, Deschutes Rivers. Flooding should be minor.

Peak Gusts at 10 p.m. -- We're starting to really get the brunt now -- Tacoma 62, Seattle 58, Shelton 55, Everett 53, Bellingham 51, Renton 49.

9:00 p.m.: Peak gusts this hour: Tacoma (McChord AFB) 60, Tacoma (Narrows) 52, Everett 53, Sea-Tac Airport 47, Bellingham 43, Hoquiam 53. The strongest winds are just about to start hitting the coast and then begin their march east through the Puget Sound area -- probably within the next two hours or so.

8:00 p.m.: New gusts: Alki Beach 49, Hoquiam 59, Fort Lewis 58, Mt. Vernon (unofficial) 61, Grays Harbor 48, LaConner 50.

7:30 p.m.: Peak storm gusts so far: Ocean Shores 70 mph, Hoquiam 58 mph, Forks 54, Shelton 55, Everett 53, Alki Point 47, Vancouver (WA) 47, Portland 53, Seattle 44, Tacoma 44.

7:10 p.m.: Timing of strongest winds moved up a little. Strongest winds now expected to hit Olympia around 9-10 p.m., and start in Puget Sound area between 10-midnight.

6:00 p.m.: Everett, Portland, Forks, Shelton all report gusts over 50 mph. Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Bellingham report gusts over 40 mph.

5:00 p.m.: Everett reports gust to 53 mph. Hoquiam gusts to 55 mph.

4:25 p.m.: Squall line moves through central Puget Sound area, bringing torrential rains that overwhelm city drainage systems. Parts of I-5 and SR-99 were blocked in Seattle due to heavy rains.

4:05 p.m.: The storm is now starting to make its first imprint. Astoria had a gust to 69 mph, Hoquiam to 58 mph, and winds even picking up in Shelton, gusting to 53 mph