December 8, 2021

Potentially historic storm coming – Sooner, worse, Monday night better. We wait.

Update 9AM Saturday

I will post a brand new post later today once the morning model runs are complete. Looks like it’s going to be a doozy. Expect Environment Canada to upgrade their Weather Statements to alerts today. Winds will begin Sunday morning and last for most of the following 24 hours. More soon. For now, see tweet below on the first model coming out this morning.

Update 12PM Friday

Original Post Friday Morning

What there is no doubt of right now is that a potentially historic storm is about to form in the NorthEast Pacific.

Models are predicting a massive storm with a central low pressure near 945hPa (945mb or 94.5kPa) West of the Columbia River on Sunday morning. This would make it stronger than the 955hPA storm Typhoon Freda in 1962 which, reader Rob reminded me, was the storm that famously destroyed one of 4 Martin Mars water bombers, Caroline Mars as it sat on the tarmac in Sydney, BC. Below is the UWash GFS model

The Thursday 00Z run of the UWash NAM model didn’t have it quite as strong, 951hPa, but closer to the coast at maximum intensity and a very strong wind field up to 75knots (140kph). You can see below. This is a nightmare but seems, at this point, least likely.

The good news is, this morning’s Friday 12Z run of the NAM model has a different picture, closer to the the UWash GFS yesterday afternoon.

Here is this morning’s 12Z NAM run. It has the low bottoming at 950hPa, but doing so further south-west and not looking nearly as organized.

Models agree it will cross Vancouver Island – but how strong?

The disagreement amongst the models, the GFS and NAM from the University of Washington are no different, comes in what happens after the low “bottoms out” and starts approaching the coast.

The key questions are:

  1. How fast does it approach?
  2. How fast does it “fill In” and weaken.
  3. Where does it make landfall.

Not NAM please

  • The Thursday UWash NAM had the storm closer to the coast when it reaches peak intensity of 956hPa. Most importantly, it had the low remaining at that intensity until landfall on Sunday night.
  • The Friday NAM agrees more with Thursday’s GFS and has the storm farther out but, it still makes landfall earlier, which is a problem.

Here is the Thursday GFS. It has the low landing at 8PM Monday at 974hPa right on Long Beach

The Friday morning NAM has the low landing 12 hours earlier and 10hPa stronger at 8AM Monday morning at 968hPa at Bamfield/Anacla.

So we still have some disagreement. Basically it looks like if the low gets here earlier, it will be stronger. The later it arrives, the weaker the models expect it to be.

The Friday morning GFS run will be complete in a few hours. We’ll see then how things have changed.

In the meantime, just in case, I’d recommend battening down the hatches anyway. Better to be prepared!

Expect Gusty Winds and Rain Saturday, Sunday and Monday

As we await the storm, it will be flinging weather at us. Expect gusty winds on Saturday and Sunday as well as bands of rain. There will also be plenty of rain associated with the storm itself. So enjoy the dry weather on Friday while you can. It’ll be a good weekend to bundle up and get out the candles.

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