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S. Oregon Coast Sneaker Waves Sunday | Snow on Coast Passes Oregon / Washington

Published 01/23/21 at 6:56 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

S. Oregon Coast Sneaker Waves Sunsday | Snow on Coast Passes Oregon / Washington

(Oregon Coast) – Snowy passes to the beaches of the Washington and Oregon coast are in store overnight this weekend, and there are some warnings of sneaker waveissues on the southern Oregon coast on Sunday. (Photo above: Shore Acres State Park should be vibrant this weekend. Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, Charleston, North Bend)

The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Seattle, Portland and Medford are busy this weekend with a lot of issues, including beachgoers on the south coast and and those driving the coastal passes in south Washington throughout the Oregon coastline.

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The beach hazards statement for the southern Oregon coast includes the beaches of Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings, where a moderate to high threat of sneaker waves is expected. The NWS said that is in effect from 1 a.m. Sunday to 4 p.m. that afternoon.

“The sneaker wave threat is even higher considering this will arrive with an incoming high tide Sunday morning,” the NWS said. “The waves are not especially large, generally in the 3- 5 foot range with periods of 19-21 seconds, but these waves could have the ability to run farther up the beach than usual, resulting in sneaker waves.”


Coquille Point, Bandon, courtesy courtesy Rick Poecker / King Tides Project

The NWS said that even in calmer conditions you can get swept up a beach or knocked over and maybe even pulled out to sea. Shock and hypothermia are an extreme danger if that happens to you. Waves can also move large objects like logs and crush you.

Farther north the situation is not seriously dangerous but still cause for some concern.

On the northern Oregon coast and parts of the southwest Washington coast, the NWS said some sizable waves offshore will be found on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. They’ll stick around from about 14 feet up to 20 feet at various times. However, long period swells are not expected and thus don’t pose major hazards for beaches such as Florence, Newport, Cannon Beach or Long Beach. More rocky areas such as Depoe Bay, Westport or Yachats will be putting on a show, however.

Another safety issue of concern now is the winter weather advisory for the upper elevations of valley towns like Portland or Salem, as well as the Oregon coast range. The NWS said this includes the summits of Highways 26, 6, 18, 126 and 38 to the southern coast. There is a winter weather advisory in effect for those higher parts of the coastal passes from midnight Saturday through noon on Sunday at least.

The NWS said some travel issues may occur with two to four inches of snow just below 1000 feet. Some snow is also expected in Washington’s Willapa Hills.

Along the southern Oregon coast, the freeze level is much higher at around 2000 feet, so less travel issues are expected along the passes to the beach. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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