Another round of wind slams Portland metro, Columbia Gorge

Photographer taking pictures at Columbia River Gorge on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 (KATU News photo)

For the second day in a row, strong winds blustered through the Portland metro area and the Columbia River Gorge.

A huge area of high pressure has settled over the western United States, bringing winds to much of the West Coast.

Fog and low clouds could be seen from Rocky Butte, where the wind wasn't clearing the air of clouds, smoke and pollution. When the weather sets up like this, air quality can get bad enough to be unhealthy.

Multnomah County officials are considering banning fireplace and wood stove use if conditions call for it.

However, the wind came with lots of sunshine for much of the area. Portland's record December dry stretch is 13 days and that hasn't happened in more than 75 years.

Hydrologist Andy Bryant, with the National Weather Service office in Portland, says even a 10-day stretch is unusual, and that has only happened a few times in that 75 years.

While forecast models are showing the possibility of a run of dry conditions of more than a week, what would normally be pretty easy forecasting is more challenging because the same ridge of high pressure bringing the wind is creating the inversion layer that is trapping the low clouds and fog in place.

"So people are asking 'why are we under an inversion when it's sunny and breezy out'. Well, it's because many people are on that fine line, the border of where it's sunny and cloudy -- less than a mile can make the difference," Bryant said.

The wind in the Gorge was recorded at more than 70 mph both Wednesday and Thursday, and the wind is expected to calm down headed into the weekend.

The gusty wind didn't stop people from enjoying the sunshine; although, photographer Monica Li, who was taking pictures on the top of Rocky Butte, said she could use more clouds.

"Too much sun. You can see all the mountains in the background and that's wonderful, but clouds would make for a more interesting picture, more balanced and even lighting is good to see faces," she said.

Li said she liked the snow and ice that many of us were dealing with this time last year.

And ski resorts that had high hopes for the season after a wet October and November, had their hearts broken with the unusually dry weather pattern.

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