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Storm Stories, Damage Along Oregon Coast: Deaths, Closures, Misadventures, Images

Published 12/28/22 at 6:55 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Storm Stories, Damage Along Oregon Coast: Deaths, Closures, Misadventures, Images

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(Oregon Coast) – To say the last couple of days were eventful along the Oregon coast would be a serious understatement, and less than 24 hours after it was over there is still considerable cleanup to do. With gusts up into the 80 mph range in some places and immense tides, it resulted in an astounding number of downed trees, flooded roads, power outages, damage to buildings and three deaths on the Oregon coast alone. (Overturned semi on Newport's bridge, photo Newport Police Department)

Near Cannon Beach, a tree fell on a pickup truck containing three people from Seaside, killing all of them. Among the casualties was a three-year-old girl. It closed the highway for about five hours.

Two others died in similar incidents in other parts of Oregon, making this among the deadliest of storms for Oregon in quite awhile.

Storm Stories, Damage Along Oregon Coast: Deaths, Closures, Misadventures
Photo courtesy Angi D Wildt Gallery: downed trees in Seaside Wednesday morning

On Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge, a semi was knocked over on its side by heavy crosswinds (which could've been as high as 80 mph there). The truck pinned two other cars and several people were sent to the hospital with injuries.

Near Otis, Highway 18 towards Lincoln City was shut down for awhile due to a landslide. That area is back open with one lane only, and will be that way for about a week until it can fully reopen.

Wild surf seen from The Coho Oceanfront Lodge (Jason Coleman)

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has reported a few state parks closed down yesterday due to heavy debris or flooding, and it's as yet unclear if all are back open yet.

On the south coast near Coos Bay, Sunset Bay's day-use area was shut down because of flooding. Multiple trees were down along the Cape Arago Highway, and it was closed for a time because of a wreck. The highway has since reopened but the status of Sunset Bay is still unknown at this time.

OPRD also reported Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach and Cape Lookout State Park near Oceanside were shut down because of high winds and falling trees. At Cape Lookout's campground there was no power, and high water on many roads in that area were causing traffic issues.

Some of those problems may still be present for a day or two.

Nan Devlin, director of Tillamook Coast, said local power utilities were telling residents Tuesday to be prepared for two days without power.

“The main transmission line is down,” Devlin told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “Flooding along Hwy 101 in Tillamook: big big waves, lots of rain.”

Indeed, the tidal surges Tuesday far exceeded the King Tides events this past weekend.

Janice Langlinais, director of Coos Bay area's Oregon's Adventure Coast, said there are reports of tree limbs down all over the North Bend / Coos Bay / Charleston area.

“The 40’ Christmas tree at the visitor center in Coos Bay took a bit of a beating and was leaning quite a bit at last report,” she said. “They plan to remove it earlier than normal to ensure everyone is safe.”

Sea water was at the top of the bay's jetties, Langlinais reports.

Damage along the Necanicum in Seaside, courtesy Angi D. Wildt Gallery

In Seaside, Angi D Wildt Gallery owner Angi Wildt provided these photos of damage and other issues in that area.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection heard some striking stories from numerous residents on the coast.

Tiffany Boothe, of Seaside Aquarium, said she and other employees spent much of the day tending to the aquarium and its pumps as it had lost power. Winds and rain also rattled the seals.

“I can tell you our seals were not fans,” she said. “Rain was coming in from the vents and they didn’t appreciate it. They decided to hunker down in their private pool and dry resting area.”

At the Coho Oceanfront Lodge in Lincoln City, manager Jason Coleman provided shots of the wild surf there, seen from the hotel. Wind storms created some dramatic moments.

“The wind was blowing so hard here all of the cars in the parking lot looked like they were going through an earthquake simulation,” Coleman said.

In Bandon, Jim Proehl with the Bandon Historical Museum sent along a before and after photo of the museum. The first shows the museum in its usual state.

Tuesday, the museum lost part of its sign.

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