That’s exactly what happened to Phil on Sunday March 13, 2011. I know because he posted it on my Facebook Weather Page.
Or how about this: you’re driving down Highway 26 near Sandy when a huge tree drops into power lines and nearly on top of your car. That happened, too, as you see in this image taken by the Oregon State Police.
Tropical Storm Force Gusts Hit Oregon, SW Washington
- 54mph Salem, Oregon
- 55mph Portland, Oregon
- 55mph Vancouver, Washington
- 71mph Eugene, Oregon
The winds picked up like someone flipped a switch.
That ‘switch’ was a strong cold front moving through. These fronts sometimes help bring powerful winds from up above us down to the surface. Fronts also create a natural change in wind direction as they pass by.
And in many cases, the storm center or center of low pressure (the ‘L’ you see on TV weather maps) creates un-even pressure over the northwest–sending air racing toward the ‘L’ which we notice as wind. Also, intense rain creates its own wind. So, put these factors together and you have a sudden, damaging wind. And lots of people without power!