South Valley Surprise of 2002

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South Valley Surprise
TypeExtratropical storm
FormedFebruary 7, 2002
DissipatedFebruary 7, 2002
Lowest pressure994 hPa
Maximum snowfall or ice accretion88 mph in Bandon, Oregon
Damage$22.1 million (2002 USD)
Areas affectedBritish Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Idaho, and Western Montana

The South Valley Surprise of 2002 was a Pacific Northwest windstorm that affected the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and Idaho on February 7, 2002.


The storm underwent rapid cyclogenesis just before travelling inland. The circulation was so small in area that the isobars were compacted tightly, thanks to a strong ridge of high pressure to the south, resulting[clarification needed] in sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts above 70 mph. The South Valley Surprise was second only to the Columbus Day Storm in terms of wind speed for the southern Willamette Valley.[1] The "surprise" was how rapidly the storm organized and matured, and its unanticipated strength. Thus, the public had no idea of the impending storm. The storm was able to tap into the jet stream and aim it towards the surface the phenomenon known as "Jet stream enhancement", which usually occurs in the unstable air found in a cold front in a mid latitude cyclone. The result was extensive damage to structures both directly and indirectly from falling trees and debris.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wolf Read (November 22, 2002). "February 7, 2002 - South Valley Surprise". Retrieved March 24, 2018.