Oregon Coast Spring Break Weather Forecasts; Whales and Agates Hot
(Oregon Coast) – There's good news for agate hunters along the coast, possibly great news for whale watchers and so-so news when it comes to weather for spring break. Many Oregon schools begin their vacations this weekend, with Washington and others following the week after.
The ten-day forecast for the Oregon coast looks rather drab – but it's better than snow. Temps look to get up into the 50's, but there will be a lot of days with of mostly cloudy conditions and varying amounts of rain. See full Oregon Coast weather.
Most weather pundits agree, however, that it will be wetter and colder than usual, including Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
“After record setting March snows from the coast to the valley, spring break looks a lot like what we have seen over the past few weeks,” Pierce said. “In other words, more of the same weather is likely on the horizon and temperatures continue to be below normal with above normal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest. We will see a break in the cold rainy weather Friday and Saturday, but then it is back to wetter and cooler conditions for next week.”
Aside from cooler temps and the outside chance of a return of snow, spring break will be more or less the same as most years.
Above: spring scenes at Cannon Beach.
For Portland, Pierce said temps have been below normal every month since October, something typical of La Nina. But that episode is just about over after nearly two years of it.
“Once we can shed this La Nina, things should return to a more normal pattern,” Pierce said. “But that may not occur until mid to late April. Let's all hope we do not have another spring like the last two, where we set all sorts of cold temperature records well into June. I for one, do not want another green tomato summer."
Depending how rough conditions get, this could impact the ability to see whales during the famed Whale Watch Week, which starts Saturday. Volunteers will be at dozens of sites along the entire length of the coast from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for that week, helping folks spot whales during their migration northward.
There has been some rather good news for this, however, as watchers in California have been spotting near-record numbers coming up towards Oregon. The Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project in California counted 50 whales heading north recently – the highest count since March of last year when 64 grays were spotted. The 2011 count was the highest in the last ten years, which makes this count the second highest. The Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay predicts this is a good omen for the spring whale watch week.
Agate hunting looks to be on a good upswing as well. Laura Joki, owner of Lincoln City agate shop and gallery Rock Your World, said the tell-tale sign of agate availability – gravel beds – has been abundant recently. These can come and go quickly, however, so you may have to check several beaches while you're out there.
This week she was excited to announce that just about every beach in Lincoln City has a sizable gravel bar, thanks to storm action.
This trend may stick around, too. Joki was upbeat about that possibility.
“Last year we saw pretty regular gravel bars at the major beach accesses until June,” Joki said. “That being said, the right storm and high tides can cover over gravel bars. This is ,however, the gravel bar season: the spring ocean tides bring a lot of force to the shores and any storm in which the weatherman warns there will be minor coastal erosion is good news for rockhounds.”
Joki said good beaches to check along the coast include (from north to south) Cape Meares, Short Beach, Oceanside, Cape Lookout Beach, Tierra Del Mar, Road's End, all of Lincoln City, Gleneden Beach, Fogarty Creek, Beverly Beach, Moolack Beach, Nye Beach, South Beach, and just south of Yachats at Bob Creek and Stonefield.
On the north coast, the beaches just south of Cannon Beach can also be excellent, such as Hug Point, Arcadia and Arch Cape.
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