November 11, 2011
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."
Satellite Pictures Attached
Please see a complete set of satellite pictures attached to this e-mail beginning on the 13th of November 1981 and spanning into the morning the 14th. These images have been scaled down to fit onto e-mail. Full sized images are available upon request. 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