180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Huge Wave Surges on Oregon Coast - Secrets
to Watching Them
|Storm surge in Manzanita, proving it's not always a safe place to
(Oregon Coast) – Saturday will bring extraordinary
wave drama to the Oregon coast, as storm conditions are expected to coincide
with a high tide, creating waves around 30 feet in height. Because of
this, the National Weather Service has issued a high surf warning for
the north and central coast of Oregon, in effect from Friday night through
2 p.m. on Saturday.
Look for monster waves to come barreling in at your favorite
beach spot, creating some irresistible photographic moments, especially
in rocky areas where the tide reaches some resistance rather quickly.
But it also means extreme danger in some beaches, and you’ll have
to watch it all from some safe vantage point. Many beaches will simply
be off limits.
But, thanks to one coastal geologist, there are ways to
guard yourself better against sneaker waves – especially if you
hit the beaches on Sunday, after the storm, when beachcombing will be
|Waves will knock around big, dangerous stuff, like this spot in
The NWS said swells along the coast have continued to build
all day, and will continue to do so through Saturday. As of 11 a.m., one
of their buoys off Tillamook reported seas of 19 feet. Astoria bar pilots
noticed seas near 20 feet near the Columbia River Bar entrance.
By Friday night, a secondary surge of wind will pushing
seas up to around the 30-foot level, making for serious surges. Seas will
then drop below 20 feet later on Saturday night.
The NWS warned against deadly rip currents and large waves
on the beaches.
Tom Horning, a geologist living in Seaside, said these
surges will threaten those who stray to close to the ocean. Horning pointed
to a rather significant event in 1999 that has similarities to this one.
|Yachats and its rocky ledges up against the tide will be a bad place
to be, unless you stay above these beaches
“There were expected tides and historically high
waves from March 2 to 3, 1999, when historically unprecedented beach erosion
took place along the coasts of Oregon and Washington,” Horning said.
“The peak of the waves coincided perfectly with the high tide of
that night, and this magnified the storm surge to near-catastrophic proportions.”
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Horning said sneaker waves are a likelihood on Saturday,
so stay clear of low-lying beaches or rocky ledges.
“Sneaker waves sneak up on you and can carry away
the unprepared,” Horning said. “Sneaker waves are formed by
at least two wave trains that are moving at slightly different speeds
and that are out of phase. As a result, they produce a complex wave train
that can double the heights of the waves every few minutes, with smaller
waves happening in between.”
|Cape Meares will be an excellent place to view gigantic waves
What’s surprising is that there are conditions to
look out for when a sneaker wave may be coming, but you have to be paying
close attention to the tide.
“The clue that a sneaker wave is coming is a large
withdrawal of the ocean after a period of smaller waves,” Horning
said. “The withdrawal represents a magnified trough preceding a
magnified peak - a big wave - that is following. If the ocean pulls out
an abnormal distance, keep an eye on it and plan your escape route - if
you are in an area that can be flooded by the coming big surge.”
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Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
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Horning said it’s best to watch the ocean for 10
to 20 minutes to get an idea of whether or not sneaker waves are likely.
But if in doubt, simply stay away from the beach – period. If you
see waves reaching up close to cliffs or foredunes, stay off it and watch
the beach from above.
|Loads of unique objects will be found on the beaches after these
“Another trick to estimating if a site is safe is
to stay on dry ground, as that site should not get swamped by waves,”
Horning said. “But this only works if the weather is dry. If it
has been raining, you have to study the site to see if it has foam or
bits of debris from waves. You should also keep in mind when the tide
will peak. A site can be dry early in the tidal cycle, but can be hit
by waves as the tide rises. Caution and a close eye on the ocean is needed.
“Foolishness has killed not only the fools, but those
who try to rescue them.”
Low-lying sandy beaches with easy access to higher ground
and no steep cliffs that can trap may be OK for watching the waves, especially
if they are broad and there’s a good distance between you and the
tide line. A good example may be some beaches of Lincoln City, Seaside,
Manzanita, Waldport and Florence. Although Seaside’s southern cove
area is usually a no-no in such conditions, as storm waves often reach
high enough to wallop the parking lot. Manzanita can be iffy as well.
|Newport's Nye Beach has considerable dangers during such surge conditions,
but you'll be fine if you stay above it all
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The main entrance to Neskowin’s beach will probably
be a good place to watch, as long as the creek isn’t too flooded.
But stay away from Proposal Rock.
Some parts of Lincoln City and Gleneden Beach are bad and
good for this, depending on the beaches. Wider ones like D River Wayside
are good, as are the broader parts of the Nelscott district or wider sections
of Gleneden Beach where a large rise in the sand often makes a bit of
a barrier for the sea.
Ironically, the most dangerous beaches for storm watching
are the safest and best views if you stay above them. Spots like Oceanside,
Newport’s Nye Beach, Agate Beach, the community of Cape Meares (Tillamook
Bay spit), Arch Cape, Cannon Beach are real killers in conditions like
this. But if you stay above, you’re in for the show of your life.
|Oceanside will be a dangerous beach to play on, but will make for
spectacular sights if you stay above it
The same goes for rocky ledge beaches, like those typical
of Yachats, the pocket beaches south of there, and Depoe Bay. Yachats
has many areas to watch the melee from above, as in the state park or
the streets that pass next to them.
Spectacular places to look for monster waves include Oceanside,
the overlook above Short Sand Beach near Manzanita and Cape Meares, to
name a few.
Many coastal locals are beginning to look at this storm
with giddy anticipation, especially afterwards, when erosion and beachcombing
will provide some new insights to the world around us.
beach expert Guy DiTorrice has been talking about changes to that area’s
beaches, said Starfish Point manager Danielle Emerick.
“We are expecting very high tides and Guy said that
the sand is shifting, exposing lots of agates and fossils,” Emerick
said. “I know the sand is moving here. I see a few more rocks poking
out of the sand.”
Recent storms have dumped a variety of strange objects
onto the coast, such as a rare sea turtle in Gearhart and a sperm whale
at Cannon Beach. A man was caught allegedly stealing teeth from that whale
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
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over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses
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of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces,
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and
fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to
the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces,
multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs,
cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another
sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes
– ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have
seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230
per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
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oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
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here for video of Dec. storm aftermath
Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners
are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events
in nature and stunning moments for 2007
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
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Beach Complete Guide
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Oregon Complete Guide
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Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes