100 mph Gusts for Oregon Coast; Flood and Surf Warnings
(Oregon Coast) – It all sounds a bit biblical: floods, hurricane-force winds, scary seas and maybe even more snow. This is the outlook for the Oregon coast over the next two days, as a variety of weather warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for Wednesday (above: big waves slam near Depoe Bay).
Snow will continue into Wednesday morning along the coast, but gale force winds will be kicking in tonight. The NWS issued a high wind warning starting 11 p.m. tonight and going until 4 p.m. Wednesday, with gusts up to around 80 mph in many parts of the north coast. The central Oregon coast, however, may be getting gusts up to 90 – 100 mph on the beaches and headlands. The area from Florence to just south of Tillamook will get the worst, which includes the towns of Newport, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Lincoln City and maybe Pacific City.
The north coast – which includes towns like Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi and Oceanside – will get slightly lesser winds, probably with gusts up to 80 mph.
Sustained winds from the south are expected around 40 to 50 mph. The big winds will subside later in the afternoon.
“Winds of this magnitude may result in widespread power outages and downed trees,” the NWS said in a bulletin.
The NWS said travel may be difficult and residents should tie down objects outside.
“Some damage can be expected from the high winds,” the NWS said.
This is the first time since the mega storm of December 2007 that the NWS has issued warnings for such high winds. Offshore waters are in actual hurricane warnings from the NWS - the beaches and coastal towns are just shy of that kind of warning.
Lincoln County schools are closed Wednesday because of these conditions.
The central coast is also under a high surf warning with some significant erosion quite possible in the areas south of Cascade Head. The warning is in effect from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Waves are expected to get extremely large early in the morning, with a peak height of 30 to 35 feet. They will remain high in the evening.
The north coast will get peak waves about 20 feet in height, the NWS said.
The central coast, including Lincoln County, Lane County and Curry County, is under this warning.
“Surf heights may rival those from the December storm of 2007,” the NWS said.
All this means incredibly dangerous conditions near the water, including huge waves battering the shoreline. This could well mean even broad sandy beaches like those at Seaside, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach or Manzanita will be incredibly dangerous.
Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, said the central coast will be getting hit harder because the outer layers of this storm system are much heavier.
“The center of the low is expected to pass right over Astoria overnight,” Pierce said. “Kind of like the center of a hurricane.”
The NWS and other forecasters are calling for more snow on the coast, even a little on Wednesday, but Pierce is predicting all rain from here out.
Because of these incredibly high surf conditions and rain amounts, the NWS has issued a flood advisory for the central coast as well, in effect from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. A flood watch is in effect until Friday along much of the coast.
Meanwhile, hazardous travel through the coast range is not going away just yet. Snow warnings are in effect there, especially along central Oregon coast passes, until 6 a.m. Wednesday. It's likely all that will be replaced by huge wind gusts and the danger of falling trees later in the day, however.
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Storm damage in Seaside in 2007.
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