PENDLETON — High winds and strong gusts rocked Eastern Oregon during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 13.
Property didn’t go unscathed. In one instance, the wind significantly damaged a Pendleton apartment complex.
A section of roof lay across the hood of a green Honda sedan in the parking lot of Mary’s Mannor in Pendleton on Jan. 13, the remainder of the building’s roof sitting across the parking lot as crews worked to clear debris. Crews used crowbars and other tools to dismantle the large chunk of roof.
According to the National Weather Service station in Pendleton, the Pendleton airport had some of the highest recorded winds in its coverage area, which includes Eastern Oregon, Central Oregon, and Southeastern Washington. The weather service’s instruments at the Pendleton airport captured peak wind speed at 68 miles per hour, while the service also recorded a max wind speed of 59 miles per hour at a different point in Pendleton.
The highest recorded speed in the weather service’s coverage area was 76 miles per hour in West Richland, Washington, but other areas of Eastern Oregon were hit hard as well.
Hermiston’s wind speed high was 60 miles per hour, while the northern part of Umatilla County also experienced high winds.
In Milton-Freewater, some 40 customers were without power after the wind apparently sheared off a power pole on the upper end of South Fork of the Walla Walla River just outside of town, according to the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.
City Manager Linda Hall said the city, which runs its own electric utility, got the call out at about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 13 and anticipated having power back online by 10 a.m.
Jim Smith, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the strong wind conditions throughout the inland Northwest were caused by a rapidly moving cold front.
Despite its suddenness, Smith said forecasters don’t expect the windy conditions to stick around for long. The weather service anticipates colder temperatures and dry conditions as the week continues but without strong wind conditions.
East Oregonian multimedia reporter Ben Lonergan contributed to this report.