122 mph winds wreak havoc with Oregon tourists

Photo Courtesy: Steve Pierce

It's the peak of a relentless week-long blast of wind up there that has had consistent gusts over 60 mph and frequent gusts that were over hurricane force.

As I wrote in my blog earlier this week when they hit 115 mph, strong winds up there aren't too uncommon in the winter (although triple digit gusts are quite rare), caused by cold dense foggy air in Eastern Washington and Oregon creating high pressure that shoots through the gorge to lower pressure in the Willamette Valley.

When word gets out that the winds are raging, it draws a lot of weather watchers up to the observatory to experience it, but many have never tried to walk in 60-100 mph winds or more, and it can be quite the challenge and danger.

These videos from Tyler Mode illustrate the point. I should mention that Mode says everyone in these videos was eventually OK, despite the tumbles. The bystanders were able to help the one woman who took the nastiest spill get to her car and she was fine. Mode said plenty others fell over -- including himself -- but luckily he was able to grab on to the railing.

This last video shows the car with the anonometer that's registering these 100+ gusts:

The winds at Crown Point were just one facet of an unusual week that saw a wide range of temperatures across Washington and Oregon. You'd think a day that was generally sunny across the west and foggy across the east would be meteorologically dull, but not this week.

Just check out this snapshot of temperatures Friday afternoon:

Baker, OR: 26
Spokane: 28
Yakima: 33
Orcas Island: 39
Portland: 44
Olympia: 47
Seattle: 51
Hoquiam: 54
Astoria: 59
Forks: 64
Medford: 70
North Bend (OR): 72

The frozen temperatures were in the fog while the super warm temperatures were due to those east winds bringing warm temperatures as they sink down the Cascades, Olympics and Oregon Coast Range. Amazing how we can have such a wide range of temperatures despite nary a cold front or storm to be found!