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Windstorm Anniversary This Weekend

Windstorm Anniversary This Weekend

Vancouver, Washington (November 11th 2011) – “This Sunday evening marks the 30th anniversary of what many consider to be the second most powerful windstorm to strike Oregon and Washington since the Columbus Day Storm of October 12th 1962. On the evening of Friday, November 13th 1981 a powerful storm (known as the “Friday the 13th Storm”) took shape in the NE Pacific. Pressure falls were reported as high as 46mb in just 24 hours, a modern day record that stands to this day in that region of the Pacific. The storm deepened to between 956-958mb along a powerful jet stream as it raced north off the Oregon and Washington coastline, just inside 130W longitude. Violent winds of 90-120mph struck the coastline and 70-90mph struck the the Willamette Valley at just after midnight on the morning of the 14th and continued into the post-dawn hours, before finally relenting. The storm made landfall on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Twelve people lost their lives as a result of the storm, the third highest behind the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 and the Great Coastal Gale of December 2007. The average return cycle for a storm of this magnitude is about once every 15-ish years. The last notable storm of similar size and path struck on December 12th 1995. Using this methodology, Oregon and Washington are overdue for another “BIG” windstorm. The “Friday the 13th Windstorm” will forever be remembered by many in the weather community as a violent storm that struck in the middle of the night. Hundreds of power transformers arched for hours in the nighttime sky across the Portland metro area. Many of the weather forecasts put out ahead of the 1981 storm underplayed the winds potential that night. Advancements in technology since 1981 will likely never let that occur again in the future. By the time the December 1995 storm struck, it was well forecasted and the public was alerted with plenty of time to spare, likely saving lives. A similar storm to that of November 1981 will occur again, it is just a matter of when.”

Regional windstorm expert Wolf Read, who recently spoke at the 19th Annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference in Portland, has dedicated a website to historical windstorms of the Pacific Northwest. Please see full details on the 1981 windstorm at: http://www.climate.washington.edu/stormking/November1981.html

Don’t forget — get my latest weather updates now via Facebook. Send me a friend request and I will add you in. See: http://www.facebook.com/stevepiercevancouver

Stay tuned!

Steve Pierce
President – Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society
stevejpierce@comcast.net
http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml
http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml