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Updates: Washington / Oregon Coast Surf, Winds, Travel Issues

Updated 11/14/20 at 4:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Wave Height Smaller But Washington / Oregon Coast Surf, Travel Warnings Remain

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(Astoria, Oregon) – UPDATES: LASTEST ON THE STORMS HERE NOV 16 Wind Warnings for Washington, Oregon Coast, Gusts up to 80; Flood Advisory

Throughout the Oregon coast and Washington coast, officials are urging caution this weekend through Wednesday as high surf and the increased dangers of sneaker waves will be present. A series of storms are coming through the area and could be adding to the already-large “king tides” of Sunday through Tuesday.

NOTE: Latest Updates as of Saturday:

On top of it all, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is warning of travel issues along the Oregon coast and the Willamette Valley, and warning of snow issues in the Cascades.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and ODOT recently sent out weather impact warnings.

Watch Storms: a Large List of Oregon Coast Webcams

According to Colby Neuman of Portland’s office of the National Weather Service (NWS), the south Oregon coast as well as the Washington coast will be dealing with the same weather pattern and similar surf and wind issues as the northern half.

OPRD largely addressed the beaches, saying sneaker waves will be a greater danger today and Saturday, followed by the king tides event for the three days after that.

“Sneaker waves can surge up the beach, traveling much further inland than normal waves,” said OPRD Safety Specialist Robert Smith. “The common adage to ‘never turn your back to the ocean’ is even more important at this time.”

King tides bring out more people at a time when it’s even more dangerous: a spooky combo.

“King tides bring huge waves, and naturally people want to come watch,” Smith said. “We want to remind you of a few tips to stay safe.”

Smith said beachgoers must respect closures and barricades, stay off the sand and watch the waves from an elevated location well above the action.

Luckily, predictions earlier in the week of 35-foot waves are not happening, but there’s still plenty to be on the lookout for.

NWS meteorologist Colby Neuman told Oregon Coast Beach Connection waves coming onshore will be in the 15-foot or so range this weekend.

“They may rise into to 20 feet Saturday afternoon,” he said.

While these are large and present plenty of possible dangers, that range falls just below the criteria for a surf advisory. He did add, however, that an advisory is still possible Saturday or even over the next few days as more storm fronts move in.

King tides alone do not bring on a high surf advisory, Neuman said, but this weekend through the midweek sees multiple storm fronts coming and going, all of which could be adding to king tides or creating high wave height dangers on their own. This could still bring surf advisories or warnings.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

“We could be flirting with a high surf advisory,” he said.

See Willamette Valley Road Conditions

Meanwhile, ODOT is urging extreme caution on the roads this weekend. Gusty winds and a lot of rain are expected to hit the Oregon coast and Willamette Valley Thursday night and lasting into Saturday, the agency said, while some mountain snow is coming for the higher mountain ranges (not the coast range).

The wind and rain may bring down trees and cause slides, especially in areas where the September wildfires stripped away the underbrush.

ODOT asks travelers to think twice before driving over the mountain passes which are expected to get several inches of snow.

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