Big East winds in western Gorge created by….

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Major wintery storm off the coast.stormswgorgeeast

by Mike Godsey, mike AT iwindsurf.com

There are a number of causes of east winds in the Gorge.

The most common cause in early fall is the departure of the North Pacific High from our waters and high pressure developing in the Great Basin  and Columbia Basin. This means a pressure gradient from east to west. This is never a huge pressure gradient so the winds in most of the Gorge are very weak. But all that easterly wind has only one pathway to the  lower pressure over the ocean. And that is the narrow gap in the Cascades in the Stevenson to Rooster Rock area. So while the Hatch and Swell may see only a few knots of east wind Stevenson and Rooster may be ripping in the 30’s.

But in late fall there can be another cause of east winds in the Stevenson to Rooster Rock area and this cause is always associated with strong southerly winds on the coast.

As you can see in these images todays strong dawn winds at Stevenson to Rooster Rock area were triggered by a deep lowewindsgorgeswindscoast pressure storm system off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. So all the air in the Columbia Basin begins to move towards that low pressure. And once again the Stevenson to Rooster Rock area acts as an venturi so the winds accelerates in that area. Then once past this narrow gap in the Cascades the winds diverge and weaken. Meanwhile the coast is being battered by strong southerly storm winds.

Also notice how much weaker the wind is just a few miles away from the coast and in the lee of points along the coast. Once again topography plays a role. These storm winds are unstable air and when unstable air hits hills, points and ridges it rises and is slow to return to the surface making for weaker surface wind.

Posted in Columbia River Gorge

2016 Fall Marine Layering Starts

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

It’s that time of the year for “marine layering” again as water temps have cooled to the low 70’s.  I’ve been recording when marine layering starts for the last 3 years in order to further document the initiating time periods. In the 2013, it started on Friday, November 1st. In 2014, it started much earlier on Friday, October 3.  In both 2013-2014, we saw a 3-5 degree drops in two separate occasions with cold air intrusion and more NE/ENE events (“NE Wedge”).  In 2015, it was a less substantial all-at-once drop and more of a progressive subtle feature that occurred during the October Rain Storm of 2015. This year we again saw a more progressive marine layering process as water temps slowly fell, with a double NE Wedge setup + Hurricane Matthew making landfall just north of Charleston along Copahee Sound/McClellanville, SC.   The storm certainly plunged the water temps down several more knots as it stirred the surface, resulting in cool water upwelling followed by another NE Wedge and a cool air mass from the north.  For this marine layer date, I place the initiation on Tuesday, November 18th.

Review:
The thing to remember here is that warm air masses tend to cause wind speeds to “decouple” over the cooler, more stable waters. This means that a layer of cooler air hangs over the cooler surface unless warm air is able to penetrate and mix into it for instability (instability = wind). Higher humidity levels are said to be a large part of the reason for decoupling; however, even with dry air over the coastal region, these layers create their own higher humidity levels at the surface. They are in many cases, their own body of dense cool air surface pooling.

See the previous blogs for past history:
2013: http://blog.weatherflow.com/1st-marine-layering-event-affects-se-region/
2014: http://blog.weatherflow.com/marine-layering-effects-start-in-the-se-region/
2015: http://blog.weatherflow.com/2015-fall-marine-layering-starts/
DETAILED ANALYSIS: http://blog.weatherflow.com/drawing-a-line-in-the-water/

We can see the trend from October 3 to near present yesterday 10/23/2016 in the NASA Sport SST animation, where coastal shelf waters along the immediate coast fell to around 73/74°…and have now fallen to ~72.3° as of today 10/24/16. You can also see the swirl, or surface eddy, that Matthew caused between October 8-10th in the warmer Gulf Stream well offshore.

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modeling-of-hurricane-matthew

Waters were ~81° on October 3, then a NE Wedge setup dropped waters a few degrees. Then Hurricane Matthew wobbled up the coastal SE Region on October 7-9 to further the cooling. Here is the SST from October 12 after Matthew was gone and the next NE Wedge pushed speeds further down to 72.7°.

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We also saw an upwards surge in temps after that cooling period, but only made it to a bit over ~75°. Now we are at 72.3° as of October 24 due to a seasonal shot of Canadian air that recently made its way down into the SE. Here is an edited NOAA/NOA/CO-OPS Sea Surface temp chart going back to Oct 3. Notice the progressive trend, which is considered a normal timeline for cooling.

sst-oct-3-24

Ok so how did this affect the winds and how does this relate to marine layering?

I usually try to use a good bench mark, such as a strong cold front with a warm air mass ahead of it, to test for marine layering since we need warmer air over cooler waters. However, we can also look at our Southerly Sea Breezes with High pressure in the Atlantic creating the warm air mass as well.

Here are the wind obs from Tuesday, October 18 (at 2:59PM) and Wednesday, October 19th (2:57PM) showing winds just inside the Charleston Harbor next to Fort Sumter a few knots higher than at the beaches on a straight South direction.

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The air temps that day went all the way up to 87/88° around 15 miles inland at the Charleston International Airport. However, air temps were only 76-77° over the Chas Harbor and along the beaches with the cooler onshore flow.

The climate pattern for Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of a weak Bermuda ridge (weak Atlantic High pressure) allowing for modest Southerly Sea Breezes and hot air. The difference between the coastal break speeds and the beach speeds is a symptom of subtle marine layering where the beaches show less speed due to cooler SST’s (72.5-73°). Morris Island is just to the south of Fort Sumter, which provides the upwind land heat for higher speeds (wind mix down to the surface).
The line is very small between where it starts and where it ends, and you can see on some days during S/SSW/SW winds where it will be 25kts just inside the harbor and 10/11kts along the beaches  – read my detailed blog about it here for more information: http://blog.weatherflow.com/drawing-a-line-in-the-water/

The layer may be too shallow for the naked eye on some days, but it can be often seen as a thin “haze” when the first signs show.  The cooler the water temps and the hotter the air temps, the more visible this becomes- eventually becoming a very thick fog bank over the barrier islands.

Here is a pic from 2013 I took showing the thin haze looking from Sullivan’s Island towards Isle of Palms across Breach Inlet.
20131101_173402
Here is a couple of pics from Rusty Williamson from Tuesday morning, October 18 from 3rd Street Isle of Palms facing SSE (tip of Sullivan’s Island far right). You can see the haze across the waters. Tuesday morning presented a shallow steam layer as low temps were near 64° as the sunrise added heat. This layer stuck through the day once air temps surpassed SST’s, but became less visible into the afternoon. I did notice a shallow haze layer remaining across the harbor that day during peak heating.

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Last week on Friday, October 21st, we had a cold front drop into the SE Region with a warm air mass ahead of it, but the front did not develop over our area and it stayed fairly dry. The winds did, however, line up from the SSW/SW ahead of the front with air temps reaching mid to upper 80’s. The below radar loop was from the morning showing the cold front approach.

Now the SST’s had climbed back up to near ~75° – 76° by this time, so the marine layering was not an issue.
[The 76 degree mark has always been my theory on where the phenomena ends and where it begins. And usually in the spring, the cannonball jellyfish let us know it will be soon when SST’s will be rising above that mark. More on this here: http://blog.weatherflow.com/cannonballs-fire-the-first-warming-shot/ ]

Here are the wind obs from this past Friday- notice the coupling at the Isle of Palms beach showing low to mid teens (just like in the harbor) between 12PM-2:00PM. Then we see the post-frontal flow crank up in the harbor.

Fort Sumter just inside the Charleston Harbor:
ft-sumter-10-21-16

Isle of Palms Pier sensor (beach side):
iop-10-21-16

So now we are back into the low 70’s with overnight lows expected to get us down near 70° this week, if not upper 60’s. We do have 2 weak backdoor cold fronts approaching today and later in the week on Thursday/Friday, so we’ll get to see further evidence. If significant, I will update here in this blog.

Until then or this spring when the marine layering ends for annual documentation…

Cheers!

Shea Gibson
WeatherFlow Meteorologist/Wind Forecaster
SE Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Station Projects

How to find me:
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook:
Wind Alert – https://www.facebook.com/windalert/ 
WeatherFlowCHAS – https://www.facebook.com/WeatherFlowCHAS/
Chucktown Wind Report – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChucktownWindReport/

Sources for this blog: NASA SPoRT, WSV3 radar software, NOAA Tides and Currents, Rusty Williamson on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, SouthEastern North Carolina

Washington/ Oregon Seeing a Powerful 1-2 Punch this Weekend.

By Weatherflow meteorologist Shea Gibson

Washington and Oregon have been seeing some very strong winds and dangerous conditions since yesterday and into today. The strong wind belt aloft known as the “North Pacific Jet” (NPJ for short) is taking a dive down over the region with a surge of energy from ex-Typhoon Songda, one of the northernmost super typhoons on record. This is bringing some rather nasty weather their way now – with stronger activity to come. It is their version of the powerful Nor’easters we see on the East Coast at times, but these have a different dynamic setup over the northeast Pacific.

Here is Super Typhoon Songda at its strongest profile. It peaked out October 11, with JTWC reporting (1 minute sustained) winds of 150 mph and pressure at 925 mb. Songda ultimately raced to the NE and got pulled up along the NPJ:
hmw816101203-201620
hmw816101303-201620

songda_2016_track

Current jet stream at 250mb (~34,000ft) that Songda was pulled into. The downstream disbursement of energy (or correlation) of one phenomena to another distant location is known as “teleconnection”.  The storm we are seeing come together now is a result of that relationship.

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Here is a sped up version of Songda’s track:

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This screen grab was from Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel on the local storm reports from yesterday/last night – notice the high winds reported! Some of these were at higher elevations.
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One powerful upper Low is moving over now (as of 1730 UTC)…with another stronger upper Low slated to come in behind it tomorrow.

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You can see the jet stream speeding up aloft with an atmospheric river diving down it – this will instigate faster progression of the next storm.

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Jet Stream speeds are expected to reach 150kts by Sunday morning. Winds will be very strong in the higher elevations in the mountains Sat night through Sunday.
16101412_jetstream_h48

There was a LSR report that came out today that showed a confirmed hail and at least one (currently listed) EF-0 tornado in Manzanita, OR this morning – a very rare sight!
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And a chilling video to go with it!

Apparently there have been more! The US National Weather Service Portland, Oregon, as of 7:30PM tonight, made this statement via their Twitter acct:
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NWS Seattle issued this today as well:
cuwm7emvyaejtw1The 5-day WPC rainfall totals are pretty staggering as you can see – these numbers are in inches.
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Wind speeds will be reaching possibly in excess of hurricane force speeds in gusts for many spots (especially at the higher elevations).  Right now, winds are gusting pretty high around the area. Some locales are seeing winds come down…for now.
Destruction Island:
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Steamboat Flats (just north of Seattle, WA) -25FT AGL (ZERO ft ASL)
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This came from Dr. Ryan Maue of WxBell Analytics today explaining the significance of the event. The lower mean sea level pressure (MSLP) is a sign of intense strength for the storm.
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Pressures are already below 1000mb for most spots now (5PM PDT).
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Batton down the hatches over there Washington and Oregon! We hope everyone is ok after this one passes. We’ll keep up with the unfolding event over the next 24-48hrs.

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Wind Alert

Sources: Digital-Typhoon.org , Earth.nullschool.net, Twitter, our own Datascope products with WeatherFlow, Inc. , Dr. Ryan Maue of WxBell Analytics , Weather Prediction Center , NOAA GOES West, NWS Portland on Twitter, Jim Cantore on Twitter from The Weather Channel, AcaFeLLas, NWSChat LSR reports , SFSU Meteorology , RAMMB CIRA Colostate

Posted in Columbia River Gorge, San Francisco

10/5/16 3:00PM Hurricane Matthew Update

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

 

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Chucktown Wind Report

Posted in Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Delmarva, Outer Banks of North Carolina, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia

Hurricane Matthew update 10-3-16 9:40PM

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

 

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Chucktown Wind Report

Posted in Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Connecticut, Delmarva, Long Island/SE New York, Long Island/SE NY, Massachusetts North Coast, New Jersey, Outer Banks of North Carolina, Rhode Island, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia, Weather Blog

Major Hurricane Matthew 8AM Update 10/3/16

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

10/3/16 8AM Update on Hurricane #Matthew: Still a Category 4 major hurricane with winds at 130mph, pressure 943mb’s, heading N at 6mph towards western #Haiti and eventually up through eastern #Cuba.

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recording-404

Looks like #Jamaica may get spared the stronger core winds. Hurricane Warnings are up for all of these areas. Beyond Cuba, the northward track takes it up into the Bahamas Wed through Thursday while still maintaining major hurricane status – estimated Cat 3. The system could weaken to Cat 2 status once pushing into the northern Bahamas and beyond.

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At 5 days out, we are still uncertain of the degree of nudge towards the SE coast from Bermuda High pressure and northern High pressure, but for now model guidance is keeping it very close to northern SC and southeast/OBX NC.  We will need to watch peripheral patterns very closely to see just how much of a westerly nudge it may receive…or how fast a pull out to sea may happen.

14l_tracks_latest

This is a timing issue with forward speed and overall system patterns once it enters the heart of the Gulf Stream off the FL coast, where sea surface temps are still very warm near ~86°. Cooler shelf waters are between 80-83° west of the Hatteras-Florida Slope and into the coast (see below graphic).

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Here is the NASA Sport SST with edits to show the features.

20161002_0600_sport_regsre_sstcomp

The chances are slowly increasing that we may see some outwards effects from this storm along the SE coast. Expect in the very least strong rip currents and higher than normal swell heights. We could see strong winds by late week and into the weekend depending on the track of Matthew. Moderate NE winds may pick up by mid week due to increasing pressure gradient with High pressure to the north and troughing near the SE coast…and may continue to build from there with the outward wind field increasing. We’ll have a much better idea once it passes through Cuba and heads towards the Bahamas.

By the way…check out the 34ft waves Matthew kicked up at the Central Caribbean buoy while going over it.

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And the cool water upwelling due churning of the waters. Notice about a 7 degree drop in water temps.

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For now, stay tuned and keep a good eye on the latest 3hr updates from the NHC (8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, etc…):http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Chucktown Wind Report

Sources: Tropical Tidbits , US National Hurricane Center , NASA Sport SST , National Data Buoy Center

Posted in Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Connecticut, Delmarva, Long Island/SE New York, Long Island/SE NY, Massachusetts North Coast, New Jersey, Outer Banks of North Carolina, Rhode Island, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia

Major Hurricane Matthew Update 10/1/16

by WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

Here is my latest video discussion:

Until the next update, stay safe!

Shea Gibson
WeatherFlow Meteorologist
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Chucktown Wind Report

Posted in Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Connecticut, Delmarva, Long Island/SE New York, Long Island/SE NY, Massachusetts North Coast, New Jersey, Outer Banks of North Carolina, Rhode Island, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia

Warm Caribbean Epipelagic Zone Helps Strengthen Hurricane Matthew to a Cat 3.

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

Hurricane #Matthew is undergoing rapid intensification right now as it moves across the Caribbean Sea just north of Venezuela/northern tip of Colombia. Winds went from 75mph last night (9/29/16) at 8:00PM to 100mph by 2AM (9/30/16)….and is now a Category 3 Major Hurricane as of the 11AM udpate for today 9/30/16.

rb-animated

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One of the reasons for this rapid intensification is due to warmer waters near 30°C (86F) acting as a fueling mechanism for the system even though upper shear at 25mph is still showing. Rather impressive really.

20160929_0600_sport_gomcar_sstcomp

Looking at microwave imagery for Hurricane Matthew, the W/SW quadrants are currently strengthening around the core. It is likely to continue strengthening while the other quads concentrate around the core again…and this is when it will likely start showing a visible eye. gifsby12hr_03-1

It now entering over the deeper warm water epipelagic (photic) zone of the Caribbean Sea that has been thickening all summer with little to no storm activity to stir the water surface.

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oceanic-pelagic-zone-biology-biome-project-4-638

This provides plenty of surface fuel as Sea Surface Temps are currently widely at at 86°. This depth of heat is measured in Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP), which you can see in the attached animation where those warmer waters are.

athhp

 

Stay tuned as we continue to watch Hurricane Matthew and monitor progress…

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
WeatherFlow Meteorologist/Wind Forecaster
SE Region/EC/Tropics
New Weather Station Projects & Outreach
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: “Wind Alert” and “Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow”

 

Posted in Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Connecticut, Delmarva, Long Island/SE New York, Long Island/SE NY, Massachusetts North Coast, New Jersey, Outer Banks of North Carolina, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia

Tropical Update for Invest 97L as it nears the Windward Islands.

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson

 

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
WeatherFlow Meteorologist
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS
Facebook: Shea Gibson – WeatherFlow, Chucktown Wind Report

Posted in Cape Cod

Tropics Update: Watching Invest 97L

By WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson.

My latest tropical update 9/26/16 at 10:00PM:

 

Stay safe!

Shea Gibson
WeatherFlow Meteorologist
SE  Region/East Coast/Tropics
Outreach & New Weather Station Projects
Twitter: @WeatherFlowCHAS

Posted in Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Georgia, Coastal South Carolina, Delmarva, Long Island/SE New York, Long Island/SE NY, Massachusetts North Coast, New Jersey, Outer Banks of North Carolina, Rhode Island, SouthEastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia, Weather Blog