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Oregon Coast Storm Causes Damage, Injuries with 'Rare' Force

Published 01/23/2017 at 6:59 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Wave damage in Rockaway Beach, photo courtesy Amanda Cairns

(Oregon Coast) – Some of the largest wave action along the Oregon coast in years took its toll over the weekend, injuring two people and causing considerable damage up and down the coast. Some predictions are indicating the wave height could've been as much as 40 feet in some places. (Above: Wave damage in Rockaway Beach, photo courtesy Amanda Cairns).

On Saturday, two people were injured by massive waves in Lincoln City. Large breakers did considerable damage to cars and a condo in Rockaway Beach, the D River Wayside in Lincoln City was actually closed by state authorities that day, and rogue waves launched logs and other debris over seawalls and other areas, even damaging an RV park in Brookings.

What is estimated to be a 12 to 15-foot wave slammed a section of Lincoln City Saturday around the Surftides in Lincoln City hotel, causing a woman to be injured while on a beachfront balcony. District Captain Jim Kusz, with North Lincoln County Fire and Rescue, said crews responded to a call about a woman hanging from a hot tub after a wave had struck the deck she was on. The deck was almost completely demolished, dumping furniture and a barbecue onto the beach below – all part of a vacation rental home next to the hotel.

Kusz said the wave was seen on hotel surveillance later, which caused Kusz to update his initial estimation of the wave from 10 fee to as much as 15 feet.

Witnesses heard the 45-year-old woman screaming and saw her hanging from a hot tub. She was pulled up by her husband. The woman was taken by Pacific West Ambulance to North Lincoln Samaritan Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Above: many of Lincoln City's beaches are too narrow to tread during storms

Many officials on the Oregon coast, including Kusz, are saying this is a first: while wave damage to homes and other structures happens occasionally, no one can remember hearing of someone actually being hurt while on a balcony.

“This [kind of storm] is extremely rare,” Kusz said. “I've been here for 22 years and have never heard of someone being hurt like this.”

The neighboring Surftides hotel also sustained some damage. Kusz said it's quite possible a large log was in the waves and smacke the properties.

Later that same day, at approximately 11:15 a.m., a 65-year-old Lincoln City woman was struck by a “sneaker wave” while walking on the beach near Mo’s Restaurant on Siletz Bay. She sustained an injured ankle and was transported to North Lincoln Samaritan Hospital.

Large waves also created some damage in other parts of town, Kusz said. Another witness in Cannon Beach saw waves climb up the ramp precariously close to the Wayfarer Restaurant.

In Brookings, mammoth breakers made their way at least 30 feet past the vegetation line and damaged the restrooms at an RV park.

At Yachats, resident Janette Square had a few huge waves that nearly hit her home. They were so large they came up and over a 12-foot cliff and then charged yet another 40 feet up the shoreline, coming well into her backyard.

Rockaway Beach likely sustained the most damage, with The Seascape Townhomes condos at NW 2nd street seeing waves plunging in one oceanfront deck area, then pushing through the unit with such force it shoved objects into the garage and even bending the garage door. Waves plowed up the embankment and over parking lots, shoving logs and other debris into some areas. The condos photographed by resident Amanda Cairns saw construction materials and logs knocked around, also pushing cars together and damaging them. Maps and Virtual Tours

Below: damage photos from Amanda Cairns, Rockaway Beach



Below: a massive wave climbs over a 12-foot cliff and then another 40 into Janette Square's yard


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