Oregon Chapter
American Meteorological Society

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January 7th, 2010

The 100mph Crown Point Experiment


Picture by Rian Muleback

By Rian Muleback
OR - AMS Member

Today marked the second day in a row that I ventured up to Crown Point (Oregon).   I can only describe my experience these past 2 days as amazing! I took several trips to the windiest spot next to the Vista House and paid the price on several occasions. The power of the wind was simply amazing and I have several battle scars to prove its awesome power.   Standing in winds 50 – 95+mph wears on you after only 5 minutes. It feels as if your chest is being pounded on by a sumo wrestler. It is impossible to stand which is why I had to pin myself up against the handrail. I was in the wind when a gust of 100.9mph was recorded and it was so strong that it took my breath away.  Today was an amazing experience and it only makes me want to go back for more.

By Phil Welke
OR - AMS Member

On Tuesday, January 5, 2010, Steve Pierce sent out an e-mail indicating that model gradients in the Gorge were forecast to be favorable for extremely high winds, so my wife and I decided to go up Wednesday afternoon to experience the wind speeds that you are not going to find easily anywhere else around here. Sure, you can climb Mt. Hood in bad weather and see even better winds, but that would quite likely end up being fatal.

We were not disappointed! The winds were simply amazing Wednesday with a reading of 88.8 mph being recorded around 1:30pm. On Thursday, morning gradient updates (thanks Wrath) were even better. So, even though I had not planned on it, my wife and I went back up. This time the winds were incredible, and I could only manage a few minutes in the wind before needing a break. But it was worth it as I managed to record a 100 mph gust at approximately 2:00pm!! The reported gradient at the time, PDX-DLS, was running -10.6 to -11.7. From looking at gradient reports, there appears to be a ½- to 1-hour lag between the gradient change and a wind change at CP.  This needs more testing to confirm, and I’m sure some of us will be looking forward to that challenge.  

I can say it was a great experience and my wife and I would do it again. I would recommend if winds are gusting over 80-90 mph that individuals exercise caution. Even after being up there for several hours, and being a fairly heavy (stable) individual, a gust caught me off guard and I was flung toward the front end of a vehicle. If a hand rail hadn’t caught me, I might have been injured.

Because we were up there Wednesday, it prompted Mark Nelsen to think about why the winds were so much stronger at Crown Point, and we ended up with one of his best blog posts/write-ups of local weather climate that I have seen in my three plus years on his blog. That post was a real contribution to local weather knowledge. And, he added additional verification from his own wind instrument.


Pictures by Phil Welke, Steve Pierce & Ryan Underhill © 2010