Saturday, September 28, 2013

Powerhouse Storm Slaps Northwest Coast

The autumn storm season is starting up along the West Coast of the United States, fueled by energy from two typhoons (Usagi, which had hit Hong Kong, and Pabuk, which stayed out in open water in the Pacific). The moisture and energy from these typhoons have fueled with a strong Pacific jet stream to create a powerhouse storm in the Gulf of Alaska, with two waves of energy and moisture slamming Washington and Oregon with heavy rain and wind this weekend.

This storm system will spin along the British Columbia coastline for a few days, weakening from its current intensity (near 970 millibars) as energy pushes eastward through Canada. While showers and rain chances will continue along the Northwest US coastline for the next few days, the bulk of rain is expected today and again tomorrow.

Besides the prospect of rain, mountain snows above 5000 feet are possible in the Casades of Washington tonight.

By Tuesday, some parts of Oregon and Washington could pick up nearly ten inches of rain! Flooding is a distinct possibility in some places up there.  Winds today and tonight could reach 60 mph in gusts, not unusual for an autumn storm...but early for these guys in this part of the world.

This storm will not have any impacts for us as the surface low and energy associated with it track far to our north through Canada.

The autumn storm season often cranks up in October, at times in response to the interaction of a dying typhoon tracking northeast into the Pacific jet stream, creating a strong Pacific storm system that works east and impacts North America. In this case, the storm season starts a bit earlier than usual and with a bit more bite than usual given the prolific rains that will accompany this storm.