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Historically low pressure system in the Pacific heads toward the Pacific Northwest coast – strong winds expected

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — National Weather Service forecasters said this morning, October 22nd, all of western Washington should prepare for a windy and rainy Sunday but there is uncertainty when it comes to forecasting the strength of the winds at various locations as well as the timing.

On Sunday, the most powerful storm in Northwest history, with the lowest central pressure ever observed in our region, will approach our coast.

Atmospheric Scientist Cliff Mass, PhD. (October 21, 2021)

Strong easterly winds are expected in Whatcom County as the low pressure system approaches and/or passes northward off the coast. Stronger winds can be expected around the county if the system continues eastward making landfall. Less powerful winds would result if it heads northward before reaching land. The storm system’s expected path is something still being debated.

While models are all in agreement that the low will strengthen and approach the Washington coast, there is still no consensus agreement on what happens after that. Some ensemble members have it staying strong and heading towards W WA, others have it weakening quickly as it approaches the shore. And others have it moving north as the previous systems have.

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National Weather Service Seattle Office (October 22, 2021)

Higher winds would be expected inland if the systems tracks into the mainland rather than northward. Coastal areas are expected to take the brunt of high winds while the foothill valleys can also expect strong easterly winds. Recent weather systems have followed a northward path.

Graphical representation of October 22, 2021 wind forecast for Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 12pm. Source: Windy.com

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