Big Winter Storm

A big winter storm swept through the region yesterday. The barometer fell hard as the storm approached: from 1032 at 9pm the night before, to 1009 at 5am yesterday, down to 988 by 3pm yesterday afternoon. We recorded gusts to nearly 50 knots as the storm intensified.

 

 


 

 

The pressure slope hit 5.8 around 2pm, equal to the worst we’ve seen. (Environment Canada originally reported the pressure slope at a booming 6.2, but later revised it to 5.8. We’re not sure why.)

 

Time(UTC)

00

23

22

21

20

19

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

Time(PDT)

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

10

09

08

07

06

05

Direction

311

324

345

356

001

017

043

078

105

121

128

130

133

Intensity

2.9

3.3

4.5

5.8

4.9

3.4

2.3

1.8

2.1

2.1

1.6

1.2

1.2

 

We had anchored in Port Madison the night before the storm hit and had been planning to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca the next day for Victoria But with storm force winds predicted, we decided to go up the inside of Whidbey Island instead.  The winds were blowing about 20 knots from the south when we left. Conditions weren’t too bad with the waves with us, but our autopilot struggled a bit to maintain course in that following sea. We’d decided to make an early stop in Oak Harbor around 1pm. Conditions in Saratoga Pass deteriorated, with the storm nearly at its worst, as we neared Oak Harbor. The winds were gusting to nearly 50 knots and the waves were about 8-10 feet and closely packed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To add to the excitement, the approach was littered with crab traps that were afloat only in the troughs and invisible until we were almost on top of them. As we neared Oak Harbor, we could see waves crashing over Buoy “2” at the mouth and were concerned that conditions in the shallower entry channel might be even worse. Fortunately, the waves diminished considerably once inside the channel. It’s all relative though—waves were crashing against the northwest shore of the harbor and it appeared several drivers had stopped their cars nearby to take in the show.

 

 

 

 

We tucked away at the head of Oak Harbor on 10:1 scope with plenty of room and slept like babies.

 

 

 

 

 


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2 comments on “Big Winter Storm
  1. Thanks for the comment Alex.

    We crossed over to Victoria Saturday and we’re anchored in Cadboro bay covered in Snow. Beautiful although the winds are still on the high side.

    –jrh

    jrh@mvdirona.com, http://mvdirona.com

  2. Alex Tucker says:

    We have a place on Whidbey Island and enjoyed your account and interesting photos.

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