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Rainy Week on Oregon / Wash. Coast: Wind Warnings, Bomb Cyclone Effect

Published 10/21/21 at 5:26 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rainy Week on Oregon / Wash. Coast: Wind Warnings, Bomb Cyclone Effect

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(Portland, Oregon) – A rather surprising weather system containing the effects of a bomb cyclone offshore is headed to the coastlines of Oregon and Washington, heralding a week or more of rainy and windy conditions along the beach towns, some thunder, and a chance for higher winds later next week. (Above: Cape Disappointment, Wash., courtesy Long Beach Visitors)

Meanwhile, swells offshore will be at highly dangerous levels for mariners and may translate to some decent storm action on beaches, especially the southern Oregon coast. 25-foot waves are quite possible over the weekend.

It all begins with two high wind situations on Thursday and Friday: a high wind warning for the southern Oregon coast and a wind advisory for the central and northern Washington coast.

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Seattle issued a high wind advisory for the upper two thirds of the Washington coast, including Clearwater, Forks, La Push and Aberdeen, in effect from 10 a.m. Thursday through midnight. Southeast winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are expected.

On the southern Oregon coast, the Medford office of the NWS issued a high wind warning for the south central Oregon coast and Curry Coast down through Gold Beach, in effect from 8 a.m. Thursday through 5 p.m.

Gusts up to 60 mph are expected.

All this ushers in the rainy season along the Pacific Northwest, with enough rain that forecasters believe it will kill fire season in most if not all places.

The NWS said the center of it is some rather impressive cyclogenesis, meaning the formation of a bomb cyclone well offshore that will push rain and wind all through the NW, with a heavier impact up north towards British Columbia. The cyclone itself won't come close to the Oregon and Washington coastlines, however.

“Water vapor satellite imagery over the past 12-24 hours shows one of the most impressive cyclogenesis events in recent history off the Pacific Northwest coast,” the NWS said.

Beach towns from Brookings, Newport and Seaside to Westport and Forks will see a rather endless run of rain with likely no breaks for about a week.

Some thunder is quite possible along the coastlines on Friday.

Later this weekend, things could get more intense.

“The fourth in our series of weather systems is expected to be off the Washington coast Sunday,” the NWS in Seattle said. “Ensemble guidance does suggest that this will be the strongest of systems in our series and will once again bring widespread rain, and breezy to windy conditions throughout Western Washington.”

Portland's NWS concurs for the Oregon side of the coast and inland.

“Model and ensemble guidance are beginning to converge on the idea that another unusually strong cyclogenesis event will occur late Saturday into early Sunday across the northeast Pacific,” it said.

Offshore seas along the northern half of the Oregon coast could be reaching 20 to 25 feet on Sunday. A meteorologist with the NWS told Oregon Coast Beach Connection they will the product of 40- to 50-foot seas building hundreds of miles offshore, then decaying into the 25-foot range by the time they reach the beaches of Oregon and Washington. The agency said there will be major wave action if this model prediction holds out. Beach warnings or advisories are quite possible, but only issued closer to the event when more is known.

On the south coast, the Medford office said seas will quite possibly get steeper again on Sunday and Monday.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

A curious bit of meteorological trivia emerges from this situation, according to the Portland NWS. Their scenario numbers show parts of this system are stronger than the Great Coastal Gale of 2007, which tore up much of the Oregon coast with winds over 100 mph for extended periods.

“However, that simple comparison does not tell the whole story,” the NWS said. “For example, the pressure gradients in the Great Coastal Gale of 2007 were substantially larger up and down the Pacific Northwest coast than what is currently being modeled.”

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Coos Bay's Sunset Bay, courtesy Brent Lerwill

Courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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