What in the world could possibly blow down more than 100 trees in the middle of a national park when no other major weather event was recorded in the area?
That’s a good question, and one that could be explained either simply — it was a downdraft wind — or through a Sherlock Holmes-style breakdown of events, courtesy local weather guru Cliff Mass.
To wit: In the wee morning hours of Jan. 27, 2018, some kind of significant wind event managed to blow down 110 trees across a large swath of forest on the north shore of Lake Quinault, on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Such wind was not recorded at nearby weather stations, nor did radar records from the time show anything more than some high and low-pressure systems meeting, according to Mass.
A look at other weather measurements also failed to yield any significant clues, although, intriguingly, a seismic recorder in the area did pick up some rumblings which are thought to have been created by all of the trees hitting the ground.
The explanation espoused by The Daily World was that the wind came from a “microburst,” a rare wind event that creates a downward wind in a localized area.
But a National Weather Service meteorologist told Mass it would’ve taken winds of 70 to 80 mph to snap trees off in the way it happened that night, so Mass dismissed that possibility.
National Park Service reports to Mass indicated that the wind event likely came from the north — a northerly wind — and records showed a seismic record of the event. In other words, it was such a force of trees falling that it looked like a small earthquake.
That’s some wind.
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