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thunderhead
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 3:39 pm 
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I had my computer run through the weather history at PDX looking for a similar event (dry season, prolonged strong east winds) and found just 1 other case in the airports ~80 year records.  September 11th 2014.

And that one was not as prolonged as this one.  It did peak at similar wind speeds and had similarly dry humidity, but not for as long.
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moonspots
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 8:29 pm 
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thunderhead wrote:
I had my computer run through the weather history at PDX looking for a similar event (dry season, prolonged strong east winds) and found just 1 other case in the airports ~80 year records.  September 11th 2014.

And that one was not as prolonged as this one.  It did peak at similar wind speeds and had similarly dry humidity, but not for as long.

And then we have this level of reporting, shall I be polite and call it "questionable"?

"From: Albany Democrat-Herald <Email@email.democratherald.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 6:31 AM
...
Subject: Gates-Idanha evacuated; valley filled with smoke, ash

SANTIAM CANYON — Wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour fanned forest fires..."

So I looked at the aviation weather for Redmond, OR for the past 5 days and found
calm to 26 (with gusts to 36) mph as the maximum values. Link if you want to do your own research.

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altasnob
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 8:56 pm 
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I'm confused. Why are you looking at weather for Redmond, Oregon, when the article is about wind gusts in Gates-Idanha (near Detroit, Oregon), which is on the other side of the Cascade crest from Redmond?
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RAW-dad
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 9:08 pm 
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Quote:
SANTIAM CANYON — Wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour

These wind speeds sound a bit high, but quoting data from Redmond is meaningless. Sorry, but Redmond is about 25 miles EAST of the Cascade crest and so not that relevant.  The high easterly winds on the WEST side of the range were caused by a huge and anomalous horizontal pressure gradient that funneled air through the Cascade valleys from east to west.

Out here in the Willamette Valley, where I live, it has been windy (and super smoky) the past few days, but winds have only been in the <30 mph range.
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Tomlike
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 9:25 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
Why are you looking at weather for Redmond, Oregon

I had the same thought, but then I looked at the weather record around Mill City and it shows the same wind speeds that moonspots mentions: LINK

The gauge near Salem confirms the same LINK.  Up here in Portland we did see gusts to about 50mph LINK.  Questionable reporting indeed
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moonspots
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 10:34 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
I'm confused. Why are you looking at weather for Redmond, Oregon, when the article is about wind gusts in Gates-Idanha (near Detroit, Oregon), which is on the other side of the Cascade crest from Redmond?

I suppose you are, but the choice of ASOS reporting stations was either Redmond to the east north east of Linn county or Salem.

I guess I could have used Eugene also with similar winds, but the point is, nowhere in the area were there anywhere near the quoted winds.

Here, the winds for Detroit, if you like that data better. Which illustrates my point: "news" generally isn't for accurate information, it's designed to attract advertising dollars via sensational sounding stories.

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RumiDude
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 12:21 am 
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moonspots wrote:
SANTIAM CANYON — Wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour fanned forest fires..."

moonspots wrote:
altasnob wrote:
I'm confused. Why are you looking at weather for Redmond, Oregon, when the article is about wind gusts in Gates-Idanha (near Detroit, Oregon), which is on the other side of the Cascade crest from Redmond?

I suppose you are, but ...
... the point is, nowhere in the area were there anywhere near the quoted winds.

Let me offer a possibility to this seeming discrepancy. It is a well known phenomenon that wildfires can actually create their own winds, sometimes even extremely high winds much greater than the quoted 60-80 mph gusts. And maybe that happened in this wildfire and is what is noted by the Albany Democrat-Herald. I am only surmising this might be what is noted, I have no specific information.
moonspots wrote:
Which illustrates my point: "news" generally isn't for accurate information, it's designed to attract advertising dollars via sensational sounding stories.

I often hear/read similar statements as yours. But my experience with newspapers is that you are wrong. Almost every newspaper I am familiar with is very interested with reporting accurate information. Often the initial information a newspaper gets is incomplete and/or not correct, but that is almost always because the source of their information was incorrect. In a case like this it may have been an information official with a fire agency or similar. Or they may have simply asked the local fire chief to provide info and relied on the information provided being accurate. Again, I have no specific insight on the Albany Democrat-Herald, I am just giving an educated/experienced guess as to how they got their information. It is extremely unlikely someone sat at a desk making up information to make it more sensational. In my experience that almost never happens, ever.

Rumi

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moonspots
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 8:37 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
moonspots wrote:
SANTIAM CANYON — Wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour fanned forest fires..."

moonspots wrote:
altasnob wrote:
I'm confused. Why are you looking at weather for Redmond, Oregon, when the article is about wind gusts in Gates-Idanha (near Detroit, Oregon), which is on the other side of the Cascade crest from Redmond?

I suppose you are, but ...
... the point is, nowhere in the area were there anywhere near the quoted winds.

Let me offer a possibility to this seeming discrepancy. It is a well known phenomenon that wildfires can actually create their own winds, sometimes even extremely high winds much greater than the quoted 60-80 mph gusts. And maybe that happened in this wildfire and is what is noted by the Albany Democrat-Herald. I am only surmising this might be what is noted, I have no specific information.
moonspots wrote:
Which illustrates my point: "news" generally isn't for accurate information, it's designed to attract advertising dollars via sensational sounding stories.

I often hear/read similar statements as yours. But my experience with newspapers is that you are wrong. Almost every newspaper I am familiar with is very interested with reporting accurate information. Often the initial information a newspaper gets is incomplete and/or not correct, but that is almost always because the source of their information was incorrect. In a case like this it may have been an information official with a fire agency or similar. Or they may have simply asked the local fire chief to provide info and relied on the information provided being accurate. Again, I have no specific insight on the Albany Democrat-Herald, I am just giving an educated/experienced guess as to how they got their information. It is extremely unlikely someone sat at a desk making up information to make it more sensational. In my experience that almost never happens, ever.

Rumi

I'm aware of the phenomena of high winds near (up or downslope) of a strong fire, but the headline wasn't worded so that would be the impression taken by a reader. It seemed to indicate a widespread area of wind, which is also part of the reason I selected the weather station near Redmond to check first. If winds gusting "60-80" were in the area of the fire, there would have been wind speeds of a similar strength upwind (Redmond), and that wasn't the case.

I'm not a *complete* outsider to news, I've worked in the radio broadcast industry for ~40 years. I watch/listen closer than most consumers, I suppose. Anyway, this headline immediately struck me as being incorrect. And whether it was misleading due to intent or incompetence, I don't know, but let's just say that I'm suspicious when news is presented that doesn't match data.

Anyway, this thread has drifted enough I think, and I have lots of outside work to do before winter sets in so I'll leave it here. I may check in occasionally to see if anyone finds more accurate data to refute my opinion(s). Thanks for the well worded comments, Rumi.

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thunderhead
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 9:14 am 
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The higher peaks could have hit 60 to 80, but the Santiam and McKenzie valleys were much lower.

Utahs mesowest website is the best source for non-airport winds.

Still high enough to drive the fires though frown.gif
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altasnob
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 12:16 pm 
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I emailed the author of the Albany Democrat-Herald story to try to find out the source of their claim and pointed out that all nearby weather stations suggest wind gusts topping out in the 30 mph range. Will report what I hear.

Side note-Albany Democrat-Herald is owned by Lee Enterprises, the fourth largest newspaper group in the US. These small town newspapers have been so consolidated and dominated with regurgitated click bait stories authored by bots that it is amazing they even have a human being reporting on these fires.
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 1:11 pm 
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After looking at the map, I guess we don't have it so bad here.
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drm
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 3:37 pm 
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Winds are very localized and also many people have private weather stations on their property. It's not at all unlikely that there could be much higher gusts locally, and it's also very possible that some of these devices are poorly calibrated. We don't really have a way of knowing, except that the fire behavior has clearly been extreme, so extreme localized winds are plausible.
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RumiDude
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 5:18 pm 
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drm wrote:
We don't really have a way of knowing, except that the fire behavior has clearly been extreme, so extreme localized winds are plausible.

Yea, these fires exploded from small to HUGE in just a matter of hours. And then they pushed across the mountains to the coast taking everything in their path. We can quibble about the exact wind speed but not about the massive destruction. And then there is the loss of life.

Rumi

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altasnob
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 5:48 pm 
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From the Oregonian: by Wednesday, fire had reached Silver Falls State Park’s perimeter, and on Thursday it began to creep in.

The fire appears to have already passed through Opal Creek

Shellburg Falls is within the fire perimeter. Abiqua Falls is less than two miles outside of it.

O’Hara confirmed that the fire has crossed through Jefferson Park and Breitenbush Hot Springs, but said heavy smoke has prevented aerial crews from getting a good look at the damage.
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RumiDude
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 9:27 pm 
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Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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