Predicted ‘historic’ storm fails to live up to hype

Storm some thought would rival Columbus Day Storm of ‘62 falls short

The “storm of the century,” that was supposed to rival the epic Columbus Day Storm of 1962 and hit with a vengeance over the weekend, wound up limping into the region Saturday afternoon. Rather than carving a path of destruction along the coast, it left a lot of locals asking, via social media, what happened to the massive storm we were supposed to see ?

Short answer? It moved. Meteorologists all over the region are saying the biggest winds stayed off the coast. The result locally: A few scattered power outages, a few trees and limbs down, no major damage, no reported deaths or injuries, and a little flooding here and there. Other than the timing, a pretty typical Grays Harbor storm. The National Weather Service in a statement Sunday said analysts will be looking at exactly why the impact wasn’t as predicted over the next few days. While the weather has calmed significantly there is still a lot of moisture moving into the area. The chance of rain is forecast at 80 to 100 percent for the foreseeable future, save for a chance of clearing Friday afternoon and even some possible sunshine for Saturday.

A slight chance of coastal flooding is possible Sunday due to a combination of higher than normal tides, rain and lingering wind. Winds are forecast by the National Weather Service at 20 mph early Sunday with gusts to 30 and higher, and blustery weather is expected for at least a few more days with winds forecast at 10 to 15 mph through the week.

A small craft advisory remains on the Grays Harbor bar until 5 p.m. Monday. A very strong ebb is expected around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, and combined seas will run 10 to 12 feet into Monday. Here are the numbers from the National Weather Service for the last several days, recorded at Bowerman Airport.

Thursday: Wind speed peaked at 37 mph at 10:40 p.m., when the highest gust of 44 mph was recorded. Winds stayed steady around 30 mph between 9 p.m. and midnight. Almost a half an inch of rain fell in an hour’s time between 8 and 9 a.m. Scattered power outages, the largest in the Quinault area affecting about 800 residents. Most power was restored by PUD crews by early evening.

Friday: Winds were steadily recorded at 30 mph and more between 9:35 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. Peak winds hit just before 11 a.m., measuring 40 mph with a gust of 55. Rain fell the hardest in the early morning hours, between 4 and 5 a.m., when more than a quarter-inch was recorded. Between 9 and 10 p.m. another .38 inches fell. Again, PUD reports scattered outages and a line or two down, but power was restored to most customers by Saturday morning.

Saturday: Winds began to pick up in severity in the early afternoon. Peak gusts of 46 mph were recorded between 2 and 3 p.m. with another gust hitting 35 at 8 p.m. Winds were steady 25-35 mph between 1:40 and 9 p.m. Very heavy rains, with .61 inches reported between 3 and 4 p.m. Total rainfall for the 72-hour period prior to Sunday morning was 4.68 inches.

Sunday: Most, if not all, Grays Harbor PUD customers reportedly have had their power restored. Still a blustery day, with winds 10 to 20 mph and gusts to 40. NOAA equipment in the Quinault area recorded wind gusts up to 20 mph and more. Rainfall was intense, with 8.68 inches recorded Thursday through Saturday.