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Beach Hazards on Oregon Coast Yet Plenty of Sun; Warmest Area of State

Published 01/21/22 at 4:30 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Beach Hazards on Oregon Coast Yet Plenty of Sun; Warmest Area of State

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(Oregon Coast) – Weather forecasts along the Oregon coast this weekend are producing an interesting dichotomy: it will be the warmest area of the state but there will be sneaker wave threats. In fact, the rest of the week will prove quite sunny along the coastline and in some places quite warm, especially south. Look for temps close to 60 degrees on the south coast, and the north coast not too far behind that. (Above: Coos Bay by drone. Courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more)

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued some advice on some of its social media outlets, saying there is an increased threat of sneaker waves over the weekend. They urged caution for the northern half of the Oregon coast.

“A long period westerly swell will reach the coast this weekend. Seas around 6 to 8 ft with a period of 14 to 16 seconds will lead to an elevated threat of sneaker waves Saturday and Sunday,” the NWS said.

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That long period – the interval between waves – is the problem. If that timing starts to climb above 14 seconds or so, waves can pile up offshore and then come roaring in as a sneaker wave. It's all quite random, and it could knock you down, push large objects onto you, or in extreme cases pull you into the ocean.

It's a double punch of this over the weekend, with the first set of conditions coming in on Saturday.

“Another long period westerly swell moves in later on Sunday building seas to around 8 to 10 ft at 16 seconds later Sunday into Monday,” the NWS said.

These dangers are for the northern half of the Oregon coast and some of the south Washington coast, but not the south Oregon coast from Florence southward. That area, according to the NWS, will see some advisories for mariners but nothing that will affect beachgoers in spots like Bandon, Coos Bay or Brookings.

Yet that section of the coastline will see the warmest temps this week, climbing up to about 60 degrees on some days, with the northern half of the Oregon coast seeing mid to upper 50s through Friday if not longer. That, coupled with low winds and sunny conditions will likely make the beaches feel as warm as 70 degrees or higher.

When low winds happen at the same time as sunny conditions on beaches, the ocean reflects the sun back, making it feel as much as ten degrees warmer than it is. Although it's winter, days like these you should actually be thinking about sunscreen: it's possible to get sunburned on the beaches when they're like this.

Over the weekend, the entire western half of the state will see a high pressure area parked over the region, bringing plenty of calm and dry weather to places like Portland, Ashland or Eugene. However, inland it will only be reaching into the 40s or 50s on most of these days, and there will be an air stagnation advisory for most of the interior.

“The warmest temperatures are expected along and near the coast, and across the Cascade valleys where there is a much higher chance for sunshine,” the NWS said. “In fact, some of these spots could approach 60 degrees Sunday afternoon.”

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Bandon, courtesy OPRD

Photo below courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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