West Coast Wind Blog: Dec. 5, 2017. Huge high pressure creates powerful easterly winds

Ventura fire, Gorge, Bay, SoCal, Baja winds!

by Mike Godsey

Today we are seeing unusually strong late easterly winds over much of the west coast from the Gorge to the Sea of Cortez. These winds are stirring unusual late season fires in Southern California.

Kerry, our forecaster who lives near the Ventura fire but is out of the fires path, is carefully watching the local wind scene. Meanwhile I am watching the overall west coast wind situation.

In the first set of images you can see the strong winds that are whipping the Ventura fire. Also notice the Strong western Gorge winds.

Notice how localized the winds are in the canyons and ridges.

Likewise in the Bay Area notice how the winds are strong on the East Bay ridges but weak at the surface inside the Bay.

Kerry notes that the Pt. Mugu 449 Mz. profiler show a similar pattern is Southern California with very strong Santa Ana winds aloft.

As you can see in the imagery below the huge high pressure in the Great Basin, Columbia Basin and 4 corners is creating strong winds in the Gorge, Baja, Southern California and over the Bay Area.

These winds are extremely impacted by local topography and the depth of the inversion which is why you see in the imagery very weak winds in close proximity to very strong winds.

Looking at the animation below you can see the huge high pressure zone that extends from west of the Pacific Northwest into the Columbia Basin, Great Basin and 4 corners. Anos note the low pressures west of Northern California, Southern California and south of Baja. Check out the isobars and you can see see the areas which have the strongest winds.

Can you figure out why Rooster Rock in the Gorge has such strong winds despite the isobars being relatively far apart?

Right now it does no look like the brunt of the El Norte winds will reach La Ventana. Can you figure out the reason?

Mike