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Oregon / Washington Coast Storm Could Bring 35-Ft Waves This Weekend

Published 11/09/20 at 11:15 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon / Washington Coast Storm Could Bring 35-Ft Waves This Weekend

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – UPDATES: LASTEST ON THE STORMS HERE NOV 16 Wind Warnings for Washington, Oregon Coast, Gusts up to 80; Flood Advisory

High winds and the first mammoth waves of the season could be hitting the entire Oregon and Washington coastline this weekend, as the National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting high winds and wave height up to around 35 feet in some areas, especially Oregon. (Photo: Washington's Cape Disappointment, courtesy Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau)

However, it's far enough ahead that meteorologists say these predictions may not be the case.

The NWS offices in Medford, Portland and Seattle are all discussing a storm system that will pounce on the Pacific Northwest coastline, bringing gale force winds offshore and with it enormous swells. While it’s still too early to tell the exact strength of the system and what it will do, the NWS is saying there is a distinct possibility there will be coastal flooding from Oregon’s south coast up into the northern Washington coast. Waves 30 feet and even 35 feet could be coming ashore to places like Coos Bay, Florence, Newport, Oceanside, and Cannon Beach. However, wave height predictions get lower the farther north you head into Washington, such as Long Beach or up near La Push

For now through Wednesday, there are a variety of small craft advisories from the southern tip of the Oregon coast into at least the central Washington coast. Calmer conditions come in mid-week, but the NWS offices said Friday brings a cold front to the northwest that could also mean high winds for the interior valleys in Oregon.

“High winds would be a concern over the interior valleys, not just along the coast, if these models verify,” the NWS office in Portland said. “In addition to the potential for high winds, expect high surf and potential coastal flooding as seas may build over 30 feet. Lastly, heavy rain and mountain snow is also likely with this system, but it is still too soon to delve into exact rain and snow amounts.”

In another area of the NWS website it says waves up to 35 feet are possible. This is for the range from Florence up through southern Washington.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

A similar forecast is coming for the southern Oregon coast, including the offshore waters of Gold Beach, Port Orford, Bandon and Winchester Bay, according to the Medford office.

“A very high and very steep long-period northwest swell will move in Friday night, and combined seas of 25 to 35 feet are possible late Friday night into Saturday morning,” the Medford office said. “Another strong front will move onshore Sunday, bringing another round of gales to the area. Prepare for very hazardous wind, sea, and surf conditions through the weekend.”

The swells between the waves are the telling factor for the beaches when these kind of wave heights are predicted: the longer the period swell the higher the waves hitting ashore.

On the Washington coast, it’s looking at similar conditions as well, although its wave predictions are more around 25 feet at this time.

“Along with potential inland impacts, high winds will likely increase waves along the outer coast increasing the chances for potential coastal impacts this weekend due to high surf,” the Seattle office said. “We will continue to monitor trends in guidance throughout the week regarding this important detail in the forecast.”

Large wave events demand extreme caution along these shorelines, so stay clear of any areas where waves even have a small chance of hitting under these conditions. Heed all warnings from officials.

However, this will mean excellent storm watching along both coastlines. Stay up on high cliff areas or viewing spots well away from the surf. In Washington, these include Cape Flattery, parts of Westport, or Cape Disappointment (which puts on one the most magnificent shows anywhere). Along the Oregon coast, the prime spot is Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay, but Cape Arago, Cape Blanco and parts of Bandon really excel in massive waves. On the northern half of Oregon, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Oceanside, and some areas just south of Cannon Beach have the best and safest views. Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - Where to eat - Map - Virtual Tour

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

Above: storm waves in Seaside, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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