Hurricane-Force Wind Gusts, Heavy Snow to Hammer Northwest

For Immediate Release – AccuWeather News

March 12, 2012State College, PA –As locations east of the Rockies experience Maylike warmth, residents in the Pacific Northwest are in for a stormy week.

The first in a round of potent storm systems will crash onshore today, bringing a variety of active weather conditions including hurricane-force wind gusts, feet of snow and heavy rain.

A powerful area of low pressure barreling into British Columbia is responsible for the stormy conditions.

Along the immediate Oregon and Washington coasts, winds will gust to near 70 mph at times with sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph. These battering winds can lead to downed power lines and trees.

The winds will whip the rain into sheets along the coast where 1 to 2 inches of rain will fall today. By the time the storm winds down late tonight and on Tuesday, some locations could have received up to 4 inches of rain!


Storm Waves Over 30 Feet Pound Northwest Coast

Farther inland, rainfall amounts will be less extreme, although a very wet day is in store from Portland to Seattle.

In the higher elevations, heavy snow will pile up. Over a foot of snow is likely from this storm in the Olympic mountains of Washington. Farther south, feet of snow will likely accumulate in the mountains of northern California tonight into tomorrow.

Snow amounts farther inland will be lighter with a half foot in northern Idaho and northwestern Washington. The Cascades of Washington and Oregon as well as the Sierras in California can expect a foot of snow as well.

As meteorologist Brian Edwards points out, “This pattern, while not favorable for outdoor activities, will help to alleviate some of the dry conditions and the lack of snowpack in the mountains.”

Edwards goes on to explain, “Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada of California was running at about 30 percent of normal as of the end of February. This is a far cry from the same time last year when snowpack and snow-water equivalent were above average in the vicinity of 120% of normal.”

This early week storm system will be the first in a string of moisture-laden disturbances that will impact the Northwest this week.

Story by Dan DePodwin, Meteorologist.

If you have questions or want to speak with a meteorologist, please contact our 24-hour press hotline at (814) 235-8710 or email

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March 12, 2012 9:45 am

For some of us this is not a surprise ! Forecast 2 weeks ahead.

Brian H
March 12, 2012 9:52 am

More glacier food!
Something of a windstorm here last night (Vancouver); just rain so far. Snow this late in the year would be a rarity (at least at low elevations.) Should be interesting!

Erik Anderson
March 12, 2012 9:54 am

Driving from Redding to Ashland today. With the price of gas being what it is, the tailwind will come in handy. :-p

March 12, 2012 9:56 am

Wind is picking up in the South Portland area. The ground is completely saturated with our prier rains. This could get interesting quickly. My wife is the City Manager of a local town in the area. We had evacuations and local roads & bridges washed out in the heavy January rains.
In fact the city had to shift water sources due to turbidity in the local river where our main intakes are. Oregon has been colder and wetter then average now for a while. it seems like its been 2.5 years or so since we had a “warmer or drier” then average event.

Gordon Ford
March 12, 2012 10:01 am

Power out this morning here on Salt Spring is. BC. Now back on. Will have to clean limbs of lawn and driveway when wind dies down. Dont need any more snow on mountains as snowpack is abive normal in Central BC.

March 12, 2012 10:07 am

Not all that unusual for spring. Winter was unusually dry east of the Cascades, so we can use the rain.

March 12, 2012 10:08 am

Here on the very southern tip of Vancouver Island it has been blowing hard for the last 12 hours. Some power outages. And recycling blown all over the streets.
Ferries to the Mainland are cancelled.
As yet wind not blamed on climate change…but it is early in the day.

March 12, 2012 10:20 am

I’m sitting in the Willamette Valley right in the middle of this. Really strong winds and almost no rain…so far.

March 12, 2012 10:21 am

Here in the pacific northwest 30 miles west of Portland on a tree fruit farm the year 2007 was the last year to date in which we had a good late apple harvest. Late for us is Braeburn, Newton Pippen, Granny Smith, etc. We have in subsequent plantings been moving to earlier ripening varieties. This information is given in response to Jack H Barnes reference to 2.5 years since a noticable warm event. Well, the power has now flickered enough to shut down the computer and cause delay so I will finish while I have power.

March 12, 2012 10:23 am

Windy, but not terribly so yet just outside of Seattle. Generator ready to go. Hope the guy with the firewood shows up like he said he would.

TG McCoy (Douglas DC)
March 12, 2012 10:32 am

Here in my section of NE Oregon a bit lower than Pamela Gray’s- we haven’t go the wind

Philip Peake
March 12, 2012 10:46 am

Saw 43mph gust here at 09:55 — ~25 miles SW of Portland @ 550′.
Davis Vantage VUE weather station.
Things not nailed down starting to move around…

Craig Moore
March 12, 2012 10:47 am

I saw a bird fly by. Wings tight against the body. No flapping at all. Looked like an RPG round going by.

March 12, 2012 10:50 am

Here on the north edge of the Olympic Peninsula, we’ve had winds since about 4 this morning. I work for the local power company and so far we’ve had scattered power outages. Not too bad yet.

Kevin Hughes
March 12, 2012 10:54 am

I’m just east of Vancouver on top of Burnaby Mountain, roughly 1,000 feet ASL. The wind is howling. Students walking into the wind toward Simon Fraser University are having a very tough time.

No Name Guy
March 12, 2012 11:06 am

Meh…..par for the course from October through spring. These come and these go.
Been living in the greater Seattle area since my earliest memories. Used to be back in the 70’s the power would go out a LOT. More recently, the power company (Sno County PUD) has been pretty aggressive in tree trimming. Power still goes out occasionally, but for a few hours, not days on end like it was in the 70’s.

March 12, 2012 11:07 am

Darn, another day I won’t be able to put the garbage cans on the curb.

March 12, 2012 11:12 am

Does anyone have any idea why there was no winter in the south this year?

March 12, 2012 11:21 am

johnmcguire said at March 12, 2012 at 10:21 am
John, I just moved from the Southern Oregon Coast to the Portland area this late fall. I spent two years in the rain forest called Gold Beach ~ Port Orford. I believe we had close to 250 inches of rain over the 2+ years I was there.
Now Portland has never been a sun worshiping stop for people, but seriously, the rest of the US talks about 70’s in winter. I don’t remember the last time it was in the mid 70’s where I was.

March 12, 2012 11:24 am

FWIW, here’s a station with history just north of Tacoma. The pressure trend is interesting. It dropped from last night, but has hit a valley, and is going sideways. Not what you would expect with a big storm coming.

Silver Ralph
March 12, 2012 11:36 am

Quick question about polar temperatures.
I note that the Arctic temperatures are well above average this winter. This will, of course, allow much more energy to be dissipated from the surface than in colder years. Is this significant? Is this how the planet dumps energy and cools down? Does this mean the average temperatures in 2012 will be lower??

March 12, 2012 11:45 am

of course this storm will be blamed on….

Mac the Knife
March 12, 2012 11:55 am

This seems like a bit of bloviating over normal late winter weather patterns here in the Great NorthWet! Gusts to 70mph are not all that uncommon, especailly on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, in the throat of Puget Sound, and through the Cascade foothills. I have lived between MapleValley and Renton WA for +10 years and have seen gusts approaching these nearly every late winter and early spring.
“As meteorologist Brian Edwards points out, “This pattern, while not favorable for outdoor activities, will help to alleviate some of the dry conditions and the lack of snowpack in the mountains.”
Where the heck is he referring to? Not here…. Lots of snowpack and excellent skiing in the hills!

March 12, 2012 12:01 pm

Sorry, but the headline should read Storm Waves Over 30.0001 Feet Pound Northwest Coast (the .0001 must be added due to sea level increase due to global warming).

March 12, 2012 12:52 pm

“…Along the immediate Oregon and Washington coasts, winds will gust to near 70 mph at times with sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph. These battering winds can lead to downed power lines and trees…”
Looks like the Greenies there will get an early “Earth Day” (having their lights out for an hour or so).
So just think, mother nature has a way of reducing the CO2 emitted by all you people using fossil fuels just to keep warm.

March 12, 2012 12:55 pm

Much ado about nothing. This is a strong late winter storm. Not the strongest of the season, and VERY typical of a la nina March and April (excellent late season snow skiing). Yeah, it’s cool and wet here- move along, nothing to see….

Bill Sticker
March 12, 2012 1:06 pm

Widespread power outage mid Vancouver Island around 6:00am PST. High winds and heavy rain currently dying down late morning / lunchtime. Power restored about 10:00am.
Quite the roof rattler.

Steve John
March 12, 2012 1:28 pm

The horror – I woke up in Seattle this morning and my garbage can had blown over, with the lid somewhere down the street. The lid from my neighbors can was across the street. I thought briefly of working from home to avoid exacerbating the storm with my carbon emissions, but realized that unless I could convince all my neighbors to do the same my children were facing a future without garbage can lids.

March 12, 2012 1:55 pm

THANKS for mention Sean Peake and Jazznick!
The next day or two may be especially interesting earthquake-wise as well as storm-wise, when some predicted coronal holes become earth-facing; see (2nd comment)

March 12, 2012 2:01 pm

I do not know how far south this storm will go, but it could be a big problem for all fruit trees in bloom.

March 12, 2012 3:17 pm

The MJO got its mojo.
Yeee hah! Like manna from heaven. My do we need some serious rain, pretty much anywhere south of 40 N, here on the Left Coast.

Richards in Vancouver
March 12, 2012 3:22 pm

Here in downtown Vancouver overnight the howling and moaning was something awful.
And not just mine! The wind was howling and moaning too!

Keith Sketchley
March 12, 2012 4:14 pm

Victoria BC had quite high winds last night and early this morning, not over yet.

March 12, 2012 4:15 pm

Picking up steam at the Bodega Bay Buoy, a bit north of San Francisco, wind shifting to the south and increasing, barometer dropping, still a bit of sun but the storm will be here soon …

Layne Blanchard
March 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Intermittent strong winds and fairly steady rain here north of Seattle.

March 12, 2012 10:16 pm

Wasn’t that bad on Whidbey Island. Gusting up to 65 isn’t that rare here.
We did lose power this morning, but the generator kicked in and all was well. Fossil fuel saves the day again.

March 12, 2012 10:22 pm

Philip Peake says:
March 12, 2012 at 10:46 am
Saw 43mph gust here at 09:55 — ~25 miles SW of Portland @ 550′.
Davis Vantage VUE weather station.
Things not nailed down starting to move around…

Here on North Whidbey none of my garbage cans left their positions. Meaning we’ve had worse in the last couple months than this.

March 12, 2012 10:35 pm

Happy to say that 10 miles east of Seattle all we got were a few large white “rain drops” and tons of rain. No gale force winds, thankfully, and after the drenching we’ve gotten the last few weeks many of our old growth trees would have toppled.

March 13, 2012 1:02 am

The Sky is falling in Southern Portland. I am about 30 minutes South of Northern Berkley and it not only falling, its sticking best on the road. No school for days, at least for the local kids. This is actual winter snow.

March 13, 2012 7:10 am

It was never windy, rainy, or snowy anywhere ever before.
Must be climate change.

March 13, 2012 8:28 am

Update from Snowmaggedon…near Joint Base Lewis McCord…near Tacoma.
Temps have been dropping about a degree an hour since midnight. Sleet has changed to snow and its beginning to stick on the pavement…temp at 150 ft elevation, one mile inland, 34 degrees and falling…
Something tells me this ain’t in the computer models…non typical storm…it is snowing pretty hard, lol.

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