High Winds Today
As advertised by NWS, strong "sunny day" winds have been buffeting the region, with greatest gusts in the 45-50 mph range early in the afternoon. This is validation of the Wind Advisory criteria. For the past two days, NWS has posted a somewhat confusing string of watches and warnings to account for post-Draco winds: First, on Thursday night, a High Wind Watch, which was downgraded yesterday to a Wind Advisory, which was upgraded early this morning to a High Wind Warning, which was downgraded this afternoon to a Wind Advisory. Especially Friday morning there was inconsistency in all this: NWS was predicting maximum gusts of 55 mph for Saturday, which is below High Wind criteria, yet they had a High Wind Watch for Saturday. It seems that more work needs to be done to clarify a confusing set of watches, warnings and definitions - and be more consistent in communicating the message to the public.
The cause of the winds: A tight surface pressure gradient, and an unstable atmosphere that has allowed vertical air currents to mix down higher pockets of wind from a few thousand feet above the surface:
Power outages have occurred through the day, but have been isolated/spotty, numbering in the hundreds (not thousands) across area utilities.
Storminess Return This Week
My thinking on this, which I wrote about in detail in yesterday's blog, has not changed...so please reference that one. Regarding the post-Christmas storm: Today the models have trended toward a slightly warmer solution, meaning more rain than frozen precipitation for the metro region: