by Matt Souders
Some days, you get the bear, and some days, the bear gets you. Especially if you’re a microclimate wind forecaster. We can do all the prep work, come up with all of the rules of thumb and first principles of model analysis we should need, learn as much as possible about every mile of our forecast zone, and do this for years, and mother nature still has all the power. And a wicked sense of humor.
I entered the morning May 29th having forecast a curve with around 20 kt winds 6-9 AM, 25 kt winds 9 AM-Noon, around 20 kt again 12-2 PM, and 15 kt 2-4 PM…so I was a little high but had the right analysis. But…if you check the wind at a location three times, and all three times, you see garbage up and down stuff that’s not even ENE like it’s supposed to be, it’s impossible to stick to your guns.
When I saw chaos in the Western Gorge, I believed I understood why. First principles like how vertical mixing and stability can influence easterly winds as they drain through the Cascade passes fit the situation. I even had evidence besides the winds at Rooster Rock to apparently confirm my thinking (namely the behavior of the winds at Stevenson and Viento, the weaker than anticipated easterly gradient, and the lack of sufficiently cool air in the Corridor). And yet the winds came back and did pretty much what they should have been doing all along. I could get frustrated or I could choose to laugh along with mother nature. You win this round, Madam…