Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Potential for Downslope Windstorm

We are still a few days from Friday, but current models from the NAM suggest a cut-off low will slide south of Utah, causing easterly winds Friday into Saturday. This is a recipe for a downslope windstorm event.
Downslope windstorms are caused when stable air is forced over a mountain range. The air then descends rapidly down the lee side. We often observe winds powerful enough to knock over trees and power lines, transport trampolines, and get rid of your kid's plastic swimming pool you wish you could throw away (or maybe you will get your neighbor's plastic pool from down the road). A strong downslope windstorm occurred on December 1, 2011--an event Davis County residents remember all too well.

This map from the Storm Prediction Center shows the probability of strong wind events in the United States. The highest probabilities are in the mid-west where tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are common, but there is a highlighted area over northern Utah related to these downslope wind events.
More on downslope windstorms:

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