WeatherWatcher: Seemingly surprise windstorm strikes Lake Forest Park and Shoreline

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Tree down across NE 185th St at Ballinger Way in Lake Forest Park, WA.
Photo by Phyllis Johnson

By Carl Dinse

We had all this hype of record-breaking rain in the forecast, and instead we got a seemingly surprise windstorm. The National Weather Service had forecast models showing between 1 to 1.5 inches of rain for Lake Forest Park and Shoreline between Saturday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Little mention of wind however, and even mainstream media wasn’t mentioning anything about wind.

Strong winds arrived in the area from Seattle northward initially on Sunday evening. These winds did trigger a few scattered power outages in Snohomish County. A lot of unsecured objects were being blown around, as no one was expecting strong winds (including myself). 

Winds got strongest early Monday morning, long before the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory. The winds mellowed out a little to blustery/breezy conditions through most of the day Monday into Monday night. 

Tuesday morning was mostly calm until after around 11am when the wind advisory expired. Then winds picked up and at my Richmond Beach weather station we recorded nearly an all-time high gust of 35mph after 1pm. This was nearly 2 hours after the NWS wind advisory expired.

Tuesday afternoon winds were strong enough in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park to bring down tree limbs, and whole trees. Several trees were downed throughout the region on Monday and Tuesday. Lake Forest Park had one come down across NE 185th St at Ballinger Way. It snagged a vehicle that escaped with a cracked windshield, and took out major power lines, doing damage to at least one of the utility poles.

Paine Field in Everett showed similar patterns in the wind, strong on either side of the wind advisory but generally calm during the entirety of the advisory. 

Rain wasn’t the big story of this series of atmospheric rivers, it was the wind.

Overall, here are the storm statistics:
  • Sunday, June 2: 
    • Rain: 0.33 inches
    • Wind Gust: 28mph at Richmond Beach, 44mph at Paine Field in Everett
  • Monday, June 3:
    • Rain: 0.49 inches
    • Wind Gust: 29mph at Richmond Beach, 49mph at Paine Field in Everett
  • Tuesday, June 4:
    • Rain: 0.15 inches
    • Wind Gust: 35mph at Richmond Beach, 41mph at Paine Field in Everett

I use Paine Field in Everett for official wind data, as it is the closest, best wind measurement area to Lake Forest Park and Shoreline. The weather stations I operate in Shoreline are interfered with by tall Douglas firs which impact accuracy and ability to measure true peak wind speeds. Good wind measurement sites are difficult to find and very expensive within our cities.

The rainfall amount forecasted came in just under the forecasted amount at 0.97 inches total. Getting within 0.03 inches is pretty good. Our amount of rain was a lot lower than forecasted for Seattle (Sea-Tac) due to the Olympic Mountain rain shadow, but the shadow effect was very well forecasted.

Rainfall for June compared to average at the Northridge/Echo Lake weather station:

Windstorms are possible any time of year in this region, they are just rare between April and October. I don’t really put the rain event as out of the ordinary either. Some years June is very rainy, other years it's summer starting Memorial Day.

Sunny and seasonable weather is here now and expected to last for the next 7 days with temperatures in the 70’s. Saturday could be a little bit warmer, with Lake Forest Park and Shoreline in the upper 70’s, and possibly reaching into the low 80s. We return to the 70’s for high temperatures on Sunday and going on through next week. 

For current weather conditions visit


Anonymous,  June 6, 2024 at 1:28 PM  

Interesting - what does it take to be a good wind measurement site? High off the ground? Close to the ground? Open area for X meters in every direction?

Carl Dinse June 6, 2024 at 8:11 PM  

You're supposed to have twice the distance from any object of that object's height, and 30 feet above the ground. So if you have a 180 foot tall douglas fir tree, you need to be positioned at least 360 feet away, and 30 feet high. Not very many spots in Shoreline with that kind of cleared space.

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