Enormous Waves, Tornado, Rattle Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – It's been a little of everything on the beaches of Oregon when it comes to crazed weather. Massive foam inundated Depoe Bay, inclement weather caused several rescues, and a tornado even cut a swath through the central coast last night.
Monstrous waves have been reported and documented along the Oregon coast the last two days, including a rather bizarre video of a woman who defied all wisdom and common sense and was nearly swept away or killed on several occasions by wandering a stormy beach.
The storm also caused the closure of coastal bays like Nehalem, Tillamook and Yaquina. The Coast Guard responded to more than one rescue on unruly seas, including a group that was stuck on a floating refueling platform on Tillamook Bay.
The most dramatic incident came from a tornado that shot through Lincoln City late Friday, but that wasn’t the only weather event.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's office said a large thunderstorm hit the area, including a lightning strike on the Alsea Bay Bridge about 10:13 p.m. It damaged a light pole and sprayed debris onto the roadway. Some flooding in Waldport was also reported due to heavy rains.
Earlier in the evening, Lincoln City was hit with a small tornado.
“At about 9:54 p.m., residents of the Roads End residential area, just north of Lincoln City, near the Chinook Winds Casino, reported seeing a large waterspout tornado move onshore and through a section of the community,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Lincoln County deputies, Lincoln City Police Department officers, and members of the North Lincoln Fire Department responded to calls of damage in the area. Deputies reported a damage path, about two blocks wide, leading from the beach and stretching about three blocks to the east.
20 to 30 homes were damaged, as were several vehicles in the area. The damage mainly consisted of broken windows and downed trees, but one of the homes in the 7400 block of Logan Road suffered extensive damage.
Emergency responders checked the area and reported that no one was injured. Many of the damaged homes were vacant at the time the tornado stuck.
The Lincoln County Sheriffs said most of the home owners have been notified of the damage as of Friday night.
“Power in the area was knocked out by the tornado and utility crews are working to restore services,” the sheriff's office said.
The National Weather Service was contacted and it reported that meteorological data supported the existence of a tornado, but that the classification could not be determined until the damage is examined in daylight.
Meanwhile, high winds and monstrous surf had also been an issue.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a surf warning for the Oregon coast on Friday, meaning conditions would be dangerous for the beaches. High winds started on Thursday and continued through the early morning on parts of the coast, culminating in reports of gusts as high as 90 mph on Mt. Hebo in Tillamook County, and gusts in the 60-mph range in many other parts of the coast.
The NWS said swells of more than 27 feet had been reported, although other entities on the coast have reported swells of near 50 feet in some places.
“These waves will be very energetic as they move into the surf zone, pummeling the coast with large breakers as they move onshore,” said the NWS in a bulletin on Friday. “Heavy debris, such as logs, will be thrown around by the large waves, making the surf especially hazardous.”
Also in the oceanic drama category, monstrous sea foam hit the central coast earlier this week, although this had been more prevalent on the north coast in the last two weeks.
Depoe Bay resident Angi Wildt photographed the large chunks of brownish foam hitting the bay this week. Friday, she noted the ocean had grown wild and conditions in Depoe Bay were proving dramatic, especially one of the town’s more prominent natural features.
“The spouting horn is going off,” Wildt said.
Science experts say after the storms have subsided is the best time to go beachcombing, as numerous oddities will likely be in abundance.