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S. Oregon Coast Hit with Heavy Winds, Waves; Southern Oregon Major Snow Storm

Published 11/25/2019 at 5:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

S. Oregon Coast Hit with Heavy Winds, Waves; Southern Oregon Major Snow Storm

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(Bandon, Oregon) – There are really two Oregon coast’s this holiday week, and this time conditions are a little reversed. The southern Oregon coast – normally warmer and more temperate in winter – is getting what is called a “historically significant” storm, while the northern half is simply rainy.

The entire southern half of the state will be dealing with much worse conditions than the northern half, even though snow is already covering the Cascades throughout the state. The National Weather Service (NWS) said a powerful snow storm coming to the I-5 area south of Roseburg and into northern California will make for extremely dangerous conditions, enough so that the Medford office of the NWS said “if you can’t make through here by Tuesday morning, then don’t try.”

There are a number of warnings and watches for wind and snow in various parts of the state, including the Coast Range. As of early Monday afternoon, there are no reports of snow on passes to the coast, although the Tillamook County Sheriff’s office has photographed snow on top of a peak near Highway 18. Highway 20 between Corvallis and Newport will be under a winter weather advisory, and snow is expected on other highways to the north half of the coast, such as Highway 18 and 26 as snow levels drop below 1200 feet.

“Oregon drivers, be aware and prepared, especially if you’re traveling through Southwest Oregon or over any Cascade or Coast Range passes tonight through Wednesday,” the NWS said. “Avoid travel Tuesday afternoon and evening if possible. Damaging high winds are expected in southwest Oregon, and several inches of snow are forecast for the Cascades and Coast Range, with a snow level between 1000 and 2000 feet, and even lower Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when snow to the valley floor is possible.”

A high wind warning is in effect for the south Oregon coast from Tuesday morning through Wednesday around noon.

“A highly unusual, rapidly deepening Pacific storm system is expected to make landfall on the southern Oregon coast Tuesday evening,” the NWS said. “This surface low pressure, potentially one of the deepest recorded in recent history, will produce very strong winds across the region, particularly at the coast, over the area ridgelines, and in the valleys of Josephine, Jackson, and Siskiyou counties. Everyone in the affected area should be prepared for potentially damaging winds.”

Gusts up to 100 mph are possible on the headlands. The NWS said Gold Beach and Brookings could be clocking in around 75 mph. Southern-facing beaches will get hit harder.

Waves will be bonkers along the south coast, but not the northern half. From Florence southward, surf height will range from 18 to 24 feet. But from Cape Blanco southward waves could be coming onshore in excess of 35 feet, according to the NWS.

The entire southern Oregon coast is under a high surf warning, in effect from Tuesday afternoon to 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“Infrastructure at Port Orford and Brookings could see damage from the waves,” the NWS said.

It's even worse offshore. Some 180 miles or so off the coast - from Florence southward - hurricane force winds are expected midweek.

The I-5 corridor south of Roseburg will get not only heavy winds but hard snowfall, which will result in whiteout conditions. From Eugene northward, not much snow is expected, if any.

For those headed to the Oregon coast over Thanksgiving weekend, be on the lookout for snowy conditions near the summits on Wednesday and Thursday, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to create hazardous driving conditions. Pay close attention to the Oregon Coast Range and Highways Road Conditions page before you head out, which includes highway cams.

Coming back from the coast over the weekend, conditions will be dry. On the south coast, things will normalize by the holiday.

See Oregon Coast Weather (including south coast) - Oregon Coast Traffic Conditions - See Willamette Valley Road, I-5 Conditions, Traffic (from Eugene to Portland)

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