Saturday, October 23, 2010

Big Coastal Storm on the Way!

October 23, 2010
2:01 P.M.

Many of you guys probably noticed that I didn't update the blog the last couple days. I had a ton of homework. I'm not taking the easy way out of high school, I'm taking some really advanced classes so I can get into some good colleges. Then it will be a matter of seeing how much money they give me (I don't care what college you go to, 50,000 dollars a year is a scam). But yes, we have a major storm slated for later tonight that will give the coast some huge waves, as well as giving some wind inland and some rain both in the mountains and lowlands. The Cascades could see their first significant snowfall of the season with this storm as well. First, though, let's look at the water vapor imagery to give you an idea of what is really the driving force behind this storm.

You can see the beginnings of the low-pressure system starting to form. There is a bent-back occlusion and a strong "dry slot" to the south of the center of the low. What is even more impressive to me, however, is the visible jet stream in the water vapor imagery all across the Pacific. You want to know what zonal flow is? THAT, my friends, is zonal flow. The jet stream is extremely powerful and centered right across the Pacific, and it has tapped into a ton of moisture (most of it from that big supertyphoon, Megi, which actually got down to 895 mb with 180 mph sustained winds!). Very, very impressive water vapor imagery from our satellites.

But what's the actual forecast? This graphic should sum it up.

Waves! Look at those wave heights! 40 foot waves could batter the central Washington coast! That is just astounding. I've seen higher waves (December 2007 - average recorded height at a buoy by the Columbia was 44 foot waves with individual ones as high as 70 feet before the buoy became unmoored) but these are still extraordinary wave heights. I'm trying to convince my mom to take me to La Push tomorrow to witness these waves but she says absolutely not.

Some of the coastal areas have storm warnings, Willapa Bay southward has a high-wind warning (coast only), the Skokomish River might get flooded, and the mountains even have winter storm watches! As I've been advertising for a while, the mountains above 4000 feet could get a real dose of snow. I would not be surprised if they got a foot from the highly unstable air that will be filtering in Sunday night after this big event is over. The air temperatures in the upper atmosphere will be cool enough to support snow at the higher passes. I think Snoqualmie Pass will see a rain-snow mix, but would happily be proven wrong. For those of you who ski at Alpental, the upper mountain should get a good dumping! Because of the snow, there will be no flooding concerns on the Cascades.

Sit back and enjoy the show folks! What a way to kick off the storm season!

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