'Twin'sanity -- Mother Nature blasts the region with two storms at nearly the same time
Just when you think after 14 days in a row with rain that we've probably seen every kind of rain storm Mother Nature can toss at us, comes a new wrinkle:
Two storms at nearly the same time!
Our latest storm system developed as a rather complex two-headed beast, with two separate centers of low pressure that brought two separate shots of wind -- the first mainly to the coast Wednesday night, and the second that brought more widespread winds to Western Washington Thursday morning.
Having two low pressure centers near each other isn't exceedingly rare, but to have two such developed centers with each their own distinct circulation patterns is unusual. One local forecaster said it was the closest he'd seen two such developed storms around here in the last few decades.
The first low hit the coast Wednesday night, blistering the coast with severe wind. Astoria, Ore. hit four separate gusts over 70 mph (70 twice, 72 and 74 mph, plus other gusts in the 60s) while Hoquiam hit 60 and 61 mph in separate gusts. Naselle Ridge in Southwestern Washington registered a gust of 104 mph!
There was a brief lull after midnight, then came the second storm just a few hours later Thursday morning.
Bellingham hit a gust of 67 mph Thursday morning while Whidbey Island NAS hit 64, Everett reached 60, Hoquiam hit 54 and Friday Harbor hit 51 mph. Closer to the city, Seattle's Boeing Field registered a 47 mph gust, Sea-Tac Airport hit 44 mph while Tacoma checked in at 41 mph. Commuters might have had a few frayed nerves as gusts on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry hit 44 mph and drivers on the 520 Bridge dealt with 48-mph side winds whipping across Lake Washington.
Some other notable gusts: Sandy Point 71 mph, Destruction Island 77, Westport 59, Lopez Island 62, Humptulips 60, and La Push 62 mph.
Luckily for the Seattle and the Puget Sound region, while winds were still in the 40-50 mph range, the Olympic Mountains provide a protective barrier to keep allow wind a straight shot to the low pressure center. Thus, we don't get as large a pressure gradient for winds here around the Metro area. But the coast and areas north of the Olympics have no such barrier and thus the stronger wind speeds there.
Winds will taper off later Thursday morning.