May 14, 2021

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Weather News & Forecast

Potential for a Major Storm on Friday Night/Saturday Morning

2 min read

 I try never to get too excited about a storm when it is more than 120 hr out….and certainly never to discuss in this blog.

But we are close enough now to talk about the possibility of a fairly major blow on Friday night and Saturday morning.

This morning’s run of the National Weather Service’s GFS model is, how do I say it?, provocative.

It forecasts a 966 hPa low pressure center to be off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, with an INTENSE pressure gradient (pressure change divided by distance) to the west and southwest.  That kind of pressure gradient would be associated with very strong winds (50-70 mph at least) plus big waves.  And we don’t get 960 hPa low centers just offshore very often.  They usually stay in the Gulf of Alaska.

And as the low passes across Vancouver  Island, western Washington gets a piece of the action, with a very large north-south pressure difference that would bring strong winds across the entire area.  Power failures would be widespread.

I know what you are about to ask.  What is the vaunted European Center model predicting?  (see below). A strong storm, but farther south and a big weaker.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding this storm, so let’s wait until Wednesday before getting our hopes up.  The NOAA global ensemble system, which runs the global model many times, is showing a lot of uncertainly (see below), but plenty of solutions are going for big winds (the graphics is for sustained wind speed and not gusts at Forks, on the WA coast).

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