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Spectacular Yet Scary Images, Video from Oregon / Washington Coast King Tides

Published 01/16/21 at 3:06 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Spectacular Yet Scary Images, Video from Oregon / Washington Coast King Tides

(Seaside, Oregon) – This past week, with numerous flood and high surf events, made for some spectacular but scary images along the Oregon and Washington coast. Documented in stills and video are some excessively stupid behavior but mostly jaw-dropping nature. You see the Pacific Ocean at its most angry at times.

Here is a compilation:

Westport, WA: January 10, 2021

Today we opted to capture the coastline as Westport, WA braced against the first big storm of 2021. We wanted to document the toll these storms are taking on our beaches and precious dunes. Also, to show you why it's essential to stay off the beaches during high tide and large swells. Always be aware and be safe out there. King tides start tomorrow through Wednesday.

Posted by Capture.Share.Repeat. on Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Westport, Washington video is one of the most astounding. That area is known for its gargantuan waves on the harbor’s waterfront, but the outer sea area clearly has its frightening aspects. It’s the Washington coast you don’t normally see.

On one of those sunnier days of the king tides, Angi Wildt of Angi D Wildt Gallery in Astoria caught the rollicking waves near the tip of Tillamook Head.

Also in Seaside, Seaside Aquarium snagged this photo (at the top of story) of some gnarly ocean debris covering the parking lot in the Cove. The area got seriously battered over the weekend. If you see fresh debris like this in a storm area, stay away from it. It’s a sure sign waves have been there. And if they have been in that spot depositing stuff, there will be another.

The Cove was a little wild today!

Posted by Tiffany Boothe on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In this video, you can see how and why the parking lot was so littered. Captured by Tiffany Boothe of Seaside, the parking lot is crammed with cars watching the surf. Bad idea, it turns out. Those waves are big and angry and they occasionally had their sights set on the parking area. You can hear the screams as one massive wave comes bounding in and smacks the cars.

More utterly spectacular wave action was captured on video at Coos Bay’s Shore Acres State Park on the south coast.


Flooding was clearly an issue. At Seaside’s airport, Angi D Wildt Gallery owner Angi Wildt snagged this shot of an airport that was more akin to a submarine base over the weekend.

Other areas receiving horrendous flooding issues included Nehalem on the north Oregon coast, where some social media posts showed a good foot of water in many areas.

In a nasty combo of flooding and extreme wave action, Cannon Beach’s Mo’s Chowder had a surge break its windows. It was shut down for a time. This has happened before; part of the risk of being so oceanfront in the Tolovana area.

Wildt also snapped this impressive shot of king tides attacking the Seaside Turnaround. The tides, even on most heavy surf days, are a good 500 – 1,000 feet out there. This week’s king tide event showed the legendary structure getting smothered by waves.

Perhaps the most frightening display of wave action on the whole of the Oregon coast was this video captured by Rose Drea Frost at Cannon Beach. She was far from the melee when she heard some screaming. Peeking around the corner in video mode, she captured two women running from what almost looks like a tsunami.

Posted by Drea Rose Frost on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Again, you can see all that debris in the concrete walkway: a sign waves have been there. Indeed, you see them get caught in just such a wave. Also noted by Frost is the humongous log getting tossed by the surge, almost appearing as if the log is chasing them.

Many of these images and video are amazing but they also stand as warnings for future storms. These people got lucky. There’s only so much luck to go around when it comes to high wave events on the Oregon and Washington coast.

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