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Oregon Winter Spoiler Alert: the Coast's 'Mini Spring' of February

Published 11/06/2018 at 6:09 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Oregon Winter Spoiler Alert: the Coast's 'Mini Spring' of February

(Oregon Coast) – Here’s a funky travel tip: winter isn’t all it seems on the Oregon coast. In fact, it’s not as wintry as the Portland area or other inland sectors of the state.

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Spoiler alert: the end of winter can be warmer than spring on the beaches.There is what is nicknamed the “mini-summer” in the middle of the month, with something close to 10 days – on average – of exceptionally warm, sun-filled weather that mimics nice summer days.

These are not consecutive days: they’re scattered throughout the month. It’s also not clockwork. Don’t depend on it. No one's asking you to believe this happens every year, but it does indeed happen most years. You’ll often find at least a few days of really warm, calm weather on the Oregon coast at some point in February – sometimes as many as 14 days.

What happens is you get a series of conditions and days that are fairly windless, often clear blue skies, and temps in the 50s and even high 60s. Once you get out on the beaches or away from any wind, it can suddenly feel really balmy at times.

When the wind chill factor drops dramatically in conditions like this, it can feel ten to 15 degrees warmer. That means the tideline can feel like it’s downright tropical.

This can occur when the valley is freezing and frosty, albeit with sunny skies. Many times, the Oregon coast and the inland area are under similar weather conditions: that old myth about the coast being rainy while the inland is sunny isn’t necessarily true (although in summer this has some basis in fact). Sunny skies in winter mean extra chilly for the inland area, but warmer conditions for the coast because of the temperate influence of the ocean waters.

This is not all that unusual, say weather experts. The reason is because of the coast's temperate climate reacting to the slow warming of this region because of longer days and calming storm patterns. All this equals a bit of a warming trend.

"Don't be surprised to see the coast thirty degrees warmer in February at times, while Portland or Salem are just freezing," said Oregon Coast Beach Connection editor Andre' Hagestedt. "It doesn't happen all the time. But make sure you keep an eye on the weather reports in February. You may be pleasantly surprised."


More Weird Winter Fun

Winter brings other intriguing discoveries to the Oregon coast – the famed Ghost Forests.

Ghost forests are a fascinating but often hidden aspect of the coast. Mostly, they only appear in winter when sand levels get scoured out by winter waves. These forests are stump remnants of trees once buried rather suddenly by geologic forces, often 2000 years to 4000 years old. Whatever buried them – either suddenly, like an earthquake, or something more gradual like a swamp – kept them from decaying by cutting off the oxygen around them.

You can find them mostly around Seal Rock, Newport’s Moolack Beach or at Arch Cape and Hug Point (both near Cannon Beach), but they do appear elsewhere, including Pacific City and Cape Lookout State Park. See the full Guide to Ghost Forests of the Oregon coast. - Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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