Really Big Surf and Skies for Oregon Coast This Week
Published 12/24/2015 at 4:13 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – The good news? Agate hunting is getting outstanding along the Oregon coast, there's a big full moon coming on Christmas, and the wave action is getting gnarly just before the holiday. The bad news? The seas will be too wild to enjoy that agate hunting and beachcombing for whatever interesting stuff the surf has coughed up.
Seas along Oregon beaches will be mammoth, starting today and running through Christmas Eve.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a variety of gale warnings and heavy seas warning for ocean-going craft. While the wind won't affect the beaches much, the Pacific will be conducting itself in a most unruly manner. This translates to spectacular but dangerous high waves on many beaches. Tuesday has seas swells up into the range of 20 feet, but the highest happen on Wednesday at a range of 25 feet or more.
It's part of the reason this is a “King Tides” day along the Oregon coast, where volunteers are asked to photograph the highest tides and submit them to CoastWatch and the King Tides Project. This is done so scientists can get a good look at how much sea levels are rising.
The latest run of storms along the coast have already done considerable erosion, with Rock Your World agate shop in Lincoln City estimating some beaches there have lost as much as five to seven feet of sand.
Big wave conditions continue through Thursday at around 18 feet or so, but begin to drop off over the weekend. This - coupled with a possible break in the rain and maybe partly sunny days – makes the weekend a prime time to hit the coastline for beachcombing. Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour
You'll want to avoid the beaches on Wednesday and Thursday, but after Friday the sands should open up to those looking for treasure. Among the items you could find include the rare Japanese glass floats, and fascinating ocean debris both manmade and natural.
You'll also want to look up during the holiday and note an unusual event: a full moon on Christmas. The last time a full moon fell on Christmas Day was in 1977. The two events will not align again until 2034.
OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd said the best time to view the full moon is will actually be on Christmas Eve.
“On December 24th, sunset will be at 4:21 p.m. and the full moon rises in the northeastern horizon at 4:27 p.m.,” Todd said. “The full moon is 3:11 a.m. at a distance of 231,068 miles from earth.”
On Christmas morning, the moon will set at 7:38 a.m. followed by sunrise at 7:49 a.m.
Todd also noted you can catch some great views of the morning planets of Jupiter, Mars and Venus above the eastern horizon, just before dawn. As a bonus, located 10 degrees below the star Arcturus is comet Catalina, predicted to be visible at magnitude 4. The International Space Station will appear 5:46 a.m. at 14 degrees above the southwest horizon.
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