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‘Bomb Cyclone,’ Extreme Winds Headed For Southern Oregon-California Coast

The National Weather Service is expecting a "bomb cyclone" of sudden, intense winds and snow on the Oregon-California coast.
The National Weather Service is expecting a "bomb cyclone" of sudden, intense winds and snow on the Oregon-California coast.

A major winter storm is headed for the Oregon-California coast Tuesday.

Meteorologists are calling it a “bomb cyclone” — a storm that intensifies rapidly, causing winds to swirl around a base of extremely low pressure.

For the Oregon-California coast, that means winds of up to 70 miles per hour.

Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, says winds will rapidly accelerate in the early afternoon.

“You’ll really notice it by 1 or 2 o’ clock,” Mass says. “It’s really going to be blowing.”

He suggests people keep their eyes on nearby trees.

“This is a storm that’s early in the season, so a lot of the trees haven’t been tested by strong winds,” Mass says. “That’s the biggest threat.”

Mass says the winds should peter out by late evening. But cold air streaming from the northeast will bring large amounts of snow to the Cascades, Siskiyous and Sierra Nevada mountains.

Local power companies are advising customers to prepare for potential outages.

“Heavy snow, high winds — both those things can really cause damage to power lines and cause outages,” says Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gaunt. “While we have to deal with the weather as it comes, we’re positioning equipment and personnel and just being in a state of readiness to respond.”

The National Weather Service says the storm could impede on Thanksgiving traveling plans.

“If you have travel plans this Tuesday, you should consider altering your plans,” says its website. “A strong low pressure system will move into the area, bringing high winds and periods of moderate to heavy snowfall down to at least 2500 ft.”

Pacific Gas & Electric Company says the storm could linger into Thanksgiving Day.

“Although the arrival of wet weather is welcome, the storm has the potential to cause significant outages due to strong winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy mountain snow,” PG&E principal meteorologist Scott Strenfel says in a press release. “We’re urging our customers to have a plan to keep themselves and their families safe.”

PG&E offers various safety tips, including steering clear of down wires. Pacific Power is advising its customers prepare emergency outage kits that include:

• Flashlight

• Battery-operated radio and clock

• Extra batteries

• Non-perishable foods

• Manual can opener

• Bottled water

• Blankets

Copyright 2019 Jefferson Public Radio

April Ehrlich began freelancing for Jefferson Public Radio in the fall of 2016, and then officially joined the team as its Morning Edition Host and a Jefferson Exchange producer in August 2017.