Storm, Flood Warnings for Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued warnings and advisories about high winds, exceptionally heavy surf and some flooding on the Oregon coast, as a major storm system has begun moving in Monday and already causing bits of havoc with the power.
A high wind warning is in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday for the entire the Oregon coast and the southern part of Washington’s coastline. The NWS issued this Sunday, with the warning having started earlier today. To see current, realtime weather and wave data, click here.
“South winds of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts to near 70, have already been reported,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “The winds will increase and reach their peak tonight, with sustained south winds of 35 to 50 mph and gusts up to 75 mph.”
The NWS said the open beaches and headlands, sustained winds will be higher and gusts could be up to 80 mph.
Winds are likely to decrease in the wee hours of Tuesday morning once a cold front moves onshore, and a very strong offshore low pressure system moves into the British Columbia area of Canada.
The NWS said these conditions may lead to property damage, downed trees and power outages.
Indeed, power has been flickering on and off on the coast. Melissa Stetzel, manager of Nehalem Bay Winery on the north coast, said she was hurrying to make coffee before the power went out for a long period.
Brian Hines, owner of San Dune Inn in Manzanita, expected the power to go out sometime tonight, based on the winds that were already gathering strength and the way power had been ducking in and out of existence.
In Garibaldi, overlooking the bay, Lee Ann Neal was posting updates on her Facebook page. “No, no one is beating the side of my house with a baseball bat,” she wrote. “It's just a coastal gale.”
Neal went on to say the power blinked off for two seconds after she’d posted that. “I looked out the window, and all I could see were a smattering in the distance on 101, and the lights of a lone boat on the bay. Eerie, but cool.”
The NWS also issued a flood advisory for the coast until 3 p.m. Tuesday, and a high surf advisory until 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
High winds and high sea swells will be generated by this coastal system, just as what the NWS called “astronomical” high tides will be hitting the beaches. The high tides will be near their monthly maximum due to the new moon, which will make for unusually monstrous waves.
“The published tide for Tongue Point, Oregon is expected to peak at 7.6 feet on Tuesday at 2 a.m., and at 9.5 feet at 1 p.m. on Tuesday,” the NWS said.
Storm surges will be in the one- to three-foot range, and that, coupled with rising rivers, will raise the water levels in the bays that drain the coast range rivers. Low-lying areas along the coast are likely to be flooded, which includes a section of 101 just south of Seaside.
“The greatest possibility of tidal overflow will be during the high tide, around 1 p.m. on Tuesday,” the NWS said.
The high surf advisory bulletin mentions the possibility of seas climbing to 23 to 27 feet, resulting in dangerous beach conditions. Waves will be slamming the surf zone, which will be exacerbated by “the prominence of the enhanced lunar tidal cycle” – meaning the new moon’s pull on the high tide.
The NWS said seas have already reached 23 feet earlier Monday just off the mouth of the Columbia River. As of 4 p.m. on Monday, Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said the seas did not look that big yet from his vantage point at the aquarium.
“Extreme caution must be exercised,” the NWS said. “Large logs and other debris can easily be tossed around by the force of these waves. Even the largest logs can roll easily on gently sloped beaches in ankle deep water.”
In Depoe Bay, the waves were already looking quite spectacular, however. From the Depoe Bay Winery’s front row seats-like window, employee Angi Wildt said customers have been gawking at them all day.
One group of Midwesterners were especially awed by the display, Wildt said.
“High winds and awesome sea spray,” Wildt said. "The wind is blowing so hard that it's hard to walk in a straight line east or west."
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