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'Drastic Shift' in Weather for Oregon Coast / Washington Coast, Hints of Storm Waves

Published 10/18/22 at 5:58 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

'Drastic Shift' in Weather for Oregon Coast / Washington Coast, Hints of Storm Waves

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(Astoria, Oregon) – A “drastic pattern shift” is in store for the Oregon coast and Washington coast this weekend, as the long-awaited end to these unusually summer-like days comes in like a bit of a lion. The Medford, Portland and Seattle offices of the National Weather Service (NWS) are showing a good amount of rain for the Pacific Northwest coastline coming in over the weekend – as well as a decent chance of slightly stormy wave action. (Above: Yachats' big waves, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

All offices have issued some kind of special weather statement or another, essentially saying: “cool and wet fall-like weather arrives later this weekend.”

“The rainy season likely begins in earnest Friday or Saturday as the first in a series of Pacific frontal systems moves across the Pacific Northwest,” the NWS in Portland said. “This will bring an end to the extended unseasonably dry and hot weather.”

Wednesday is being touted as the last summer-like day for most of Oregon and Washington, including the ocean shorelines. Thursday turns cloudier from the southern Oregon coast up through the Washington coast's northern edges.

Shore Acres near Coos Bay, photo courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

Pavement will become especially slippery after such a long period without rain.

“Since this will be the first rainfall in a while, we want to take this moment to remind you to slow down, use caution, leave more space between you and the vehicle ahead of you, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination,” the NWS in Medford said.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

Air quality is still an issue in much of the I-5 corridor, however, because of wildfires. One small section of the south Oregon coast is still under an air quality alert until Friday afternoon, with the Oakridge fire continuing to affect an area around Reedsport.

Offshore winds and seas are expected to rise considerably along both the Washington coast and Oregon coast over the weekend, with wave height as high as 15 feet later in the weekend. This could well mean some nice wave-watching action along rocky areas such as Depoe Bay or Yachats. Shore Acres near Coos Bay and other shallow reefs such as Cape Disappointment in Washington may be putting a bit of a show, although not actual storm-sized waves.

“The strongest winds and heaviest seas will occur south of Cape Blanco,” the NWS in Medford said of the offshore forecast. “Moderate northwest swell will likely develop Friday night into Saturday, slowly subsiding Saturday night into Sunday.”

Cape Disappointment, Washington - courtesy Kris Hurrl / King Tides Project

Seas have been running a mellow 5 feet or less in recent days, the NWS in Portland said, but look for them to start inching up to 7 to 9 feet on Wednesday.

“Seas exceed 10 ft Wednesday evening as a distant northwest swell train reaches the waters. Seas hover around 10 ft Thursday through Friday, but build to around 15 ft Saturday,” the NWS said.

Snow in the Cascades could be a reality as well, although not a major dusting.

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Above: Wheeler (top), Florence (bottom) - Oregon Coast Beach Connection

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