Mysterious Wind Topples Huge Trees in Washington State Feb 12, 2018 1:03:36 GMT -5 madeline likes this
Post by Joanna on Feb 12, 2018 1:03:36 GMT -5
Mysterious Wind Topples Huge Trees in Washington State
What in the world could possibly blow down more than a hundred trees in the middle of a national park when no other major weather event was recorded in the area?
That’s a good question, and one that could be explained either simply – it was a downdraft wind – or through a Sherlock Holmes-style breakdown of events, courtesy local weather guru Cliff Mass. To wit: In the wee morning hours of January 27, 2018, some kind of significant wind event managed to blow down 110 trees across a large swath of forest on the north shore of Lake Quinault on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Such wind was not recorded at nearby weather stations, nor did radar records from the time show anything more than some high and low pressure systems meeting, according to Mass.
The explanation espoused by The Daily World was that the wind came from a “microburst,” a rare wind event that creates a downward wind in a localized area. But a National Weather Service meteorologist told Mass it would’ve taken winds of 70- to 80-mph to snap trees off in the way it happened that night, so Mass dismissed that possibility.
National Park Service reports indicated the wind event likely came from the north – a northerly wind – and records showed a seismic record of the event. In other words, it was such a force of trees falling that it looked like a small earthquake. That’s some wind.
But surface wind records from around the time of the incident didn’t show any major winds and those that were recorded were blowing in the wrong direction. No convective system that would create a “microburst,” either, according to Mass.
The only thing that could, possibly, have created the wind to down the trees was this: “a frontal zone was approaching, with warm air and southerly flow surging in aloft, while a cooler easterly flow dominated near the surface.” Mass noted the front was linked with a low pressure system that did produce some strong winds around Western Washington later that day, but still, at the time, no major winds were recorded nearby.
So what caused 110 trees to blow down in the middle of a forest? The mystery remains unsolved.
Source: Daniel DeMay, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 8, 2018.