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Dangerous High Surf Warnings on Washington Coast, Oregon Coast

Published 04/04/22 at 6:07 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Run of Dangerous High Surf Warnings on Washington Coast, Oregon Coast

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(Long Beach, Washington) – From the northern edges of the Washington coast's Olympic Peninsula down to Brookings on the south Oregon coast, a spate of winter-like weather and surf warnings are lighting up the beaches of Oregon and Washington. A run of high wind warnings or advisories just recently expired for many beach areas Monday afternoon, except for high wind advisories still in effect on the north Washington coast through late tonight. (Photo above: Shore Acres near Coos Bay, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast)

High surf warnings are in effect for much of the Washington coast and much of the northern Oregon coast through Tuesday, bringing dangerous breaking waves of 15 to 34 feet to areas like Westport, Long Beach, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Pacific City. Areas north of Westport (such as Forks) or those south of Lincoln City (Newport, Coos Bay, etc) are under high surf advisories, however, through various times on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Medford, Portland and Seattle have issued these warnings and hazard declarations, and are urging extreme caution on beaches through Tuesday afternoon.

For the central and northern Washington coast, gusts up to 55 mph are still possible through later tonight. Earlier on Monday and Sunday, much of the Oregon coast and Washington coast went through an extremely windy period. Places like Mt. Hebo near Pacific City and Mount Hood saw peak gusts well over 70 mph. Cape Perpetua, Florence and Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge saw gusts in the 60s.

North and Central Washington Coast High Surf Advisory. The NWS said this is in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday, with large breaking waves up to 23 feet expected in many areas. They urge the public to stay out of the water, and smaller, rockier beaches (like those on the Olympic Peninsula) will be very dangerous to hang out on.

South Washington Coast / North Oregon Coast High Surf Warning. This is in effect until 11 a.m. on Tuesday, but with gargantuan waves breaking at 34 feet possible at times. This will cause significant erosion and serious dangers on the beaches. The warning covers Westport, Long Beach, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach, Pacific City and all areas in between.

“Highest surf will occur after dark making it especially difficult to see the rapidly changing conditions and shifting debris on the beaches,” the NWS said. “The incoming swells are coming from near due west.”

Destructive waves will be washing over jetties and other structures: Oregon officials cannot stress enough how urgent it is to stay away from such structures or off most beaches. Severe erosion is expected and high surf may actually hit oceanfront buildings, such as some low-lying hotels or rentals in Cannon Beach.

“Higher than normal water run-up is expected on beaches and low-lying shoreline,” the NWS said. “Keep away from large logs on the beach. Water running up on the beach can lift or roll logs which can injure or kill someone caught in their path.”

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High Surf Advisory Central Oregon Coast. In effect from Lincoln City down through Florence, expiring at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Breakers up to 28 feet are expected in many areas, making smaller beaches like those at Gleneden Beach, parts of Lincoln City and Yachats absolutely a seriously dangerous place to be. Breakers like this could even cause logs and debris to come up over the D River access in Lincoln City.

Getting closer to the rocky ledges of Yachats or Depoe Bay will be an exceptionally dangerous thing to do.

“Stay well back from the water's edge and be alert for exceptionally high waves,” the NWS said.

High Advisory Southern Oregon Coast. This is in effect from 11 p.m. tonight until 5 p.m. Tuesday, bringing in large breaking waves up to 24 feet at times along the Curry, Coos and Douglas County coasts.

“Large breaking waves of 20 to 24 feet will create hazardous conditions along the southern Oregon coast tonight through Tuesday evening,” the NWS said. “Stay away from the surf zone and off of jetties. Area beaches may become hazardous due to dangerous surf conditions.”

This unusual winter-like storm in spring will produce some excellent wave watching in areas like Depoe Bay, Yachats, Cape Disappointment near Long Beach and Shore Acres near Coos Bay. Make sure you stay behind any barriers and keep away from the rocky ledges themselves – but it is possible to watch these spectacular sights in safety.

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