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Oregon Coast Fun Facts: When is the Beach Warmer Than the Town?

Published 02/27/2014


(Oregon Coast) – Believe it or not, there are times when being on the sands, right next to the ocean, is warmer than a few hundred feet away in one of those towns along Highway 101.

If it's sunny out and the winds are fairly calm, the beach is probably a lot warmer than just beyond the vegetation line – warmer on the sand than if you're walking around towns like Newport, Yachats or Pacific City. Even if the temps are fairly cold in general, it can feel warmer on the beach.

This all depends on wind factors, of course, which can ruin that aspect entirely. But according to KOIN 6-TV weatherman Bruce Sussman, the sun reflects off the ocean and can warm things up considerably. On sunny days, especially if there’s little to no wind, the beach can seem a very warm place. You can head just a few miles inland – or maybe even less than half a mile – and you definitely feel a chill.

This, and the reflective qualities of sand, are why you really need to watch the sunburn factor on nice days like this. Together, the ocean and the sand shoot back a lot of the sun's rays and you can burn much faster.

This can be quite prominent, even in winter. Perhaps even more so than summer. In many years, it's not uncommon for there to be almost balmy beaches in February – at least a few days of that in the month. Then you walk a couple hundred feet inland, onto the streets of Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita or Lincoln City, for example, and it can be as much as ten degrees cooler.

All this is quite a bit more interesting when you consider that usually standing on the beach leaves you more exposed to winds and other chilling factors. Especially here on the moody Oregon coast.

For a variety of weather science reasons, February does have a tendency to feature as many as ten days of really warm, calm weather scattered throughout the month. Statistics do back this up, such as here from the Hatfield Marine Science Center. This year has been vastly different, obviously. But there have been a few days this month that were a little warmer and nicer than inland Oregon.

Come summertime and early to mid fall, this dynamic of the beach firing sun rays back at you begs the need for sunscreen and caution to not get burned.

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A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
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