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Oregon and Washington Coast Hit by Massive Waves, Some Mishaps; Video

Published 10/19/2019 at 7:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon and Washington Coast Hit by Massive Waves, Some Mishaps; Video

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(Oregon Coast) – Rollicking, wild waves made quite a show for the last day and a half on the Oregon coast and Washington coast, and will continue that trend for another day or so. The interesting news: mid week gets sunny and rather warm for the northwest coastline. (Photo above courtesy Pilar French. See the video (direct link ).

20 to 25-foot waves clawed at the entirety of the Oregon coast and much of Washington coast on Thursday as well as Friday. While the surf advisory issued by the National Weather Service was rescinded earlier on Friday, 20-foot waves still hit the beaches throughout much of the day and will continue to do so. They will subside a bit overnight, but most of the Pacific Northwest coast will still be dealing with combined seas of 16 feet on Saturday with a fairly long period of swells at 16 seconds, which prolongs the danger of sneaker waves.

Lots of great stormwatching is available over the weekend, but be extremely cautious on the beaches and do not turn your back on the tides. Expect some sneaker waves for awhile. Stay off small beaches with no quick exit, such as Oceanside, Newport’s Moolack Beach or Gleneden Beach – which have only large cliffs behind them and no vegetation line. Stick to broader beaches with direct access to city streets, such as lower parts of Lincoln City, Cannon Beach or Manzanita for example.


Photo above: wild waves at Pacific City, courtesy OPRD

Some of the best stormwatching is done at rocky stretches like those at Oceanside (where there’s a parking lot for viewing), Shore Acres State Park, parts of Bandon, at Yachats or Depoe Bay. You must stay farther back on trails or viewpoints, however. In those places you’ll see waves smack the basalt and fire up into the air.

The last 24 hours of stormy weather were not without their mishaps, however.

Crew from a sailboat out of Newport had to be rescued on Thursday by the U.S. Coast Guard. Five people had to jump into the chilly Pacific after the 50-foot boat became disabled. They were about 20 miles outside of Yaquina Bay when the distress call was sent.

The U.S. Coast Guard arrived some two hours later, dealing with winds around 45 mph at the time. All five were instructed to put on survival suits and then jump into the water in order to be rescued. The Coast Guard was able to tow the boat back to Newport and dock it.

At Pacific City, waves zoomed up the beach to get as far as the ramp access. A photo from Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) showed this wild wave action on Friday.

“The combination of high tide and surf is pushing the waves past the beach and up the boat ramp, as well as crashing over the Cape,” OPRD said. “The park is closed and there is no safe access to the dune. The park will reopen after the waves subside and the ramp is cleared of debris.”

Portlander Pilar French caught some amazing video early that day of waves lapping at the dune before they got really wild. Then Friday morning she caught the stunning image at top of the north Oregon coast town with big waves, a rainbow and moody clouds surrounding Haystack Rock. See the video (direct link) and other photos at the Oregon Coast Connection Facebook page.

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