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Surf Hazards Through Wed on Oregon / Washington Coast with 20-foot Waves; Aurora Borealis

Published 12/01/23 a 7:25 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surf Hazards Through Wed on Oregon / Washington Coast with 20-foot Waves; Aurora Borealis

(Bandon, Oregon) – An unusual, extra-long set of beach warnings are coming out of the National Weather Service (NWS) Friday night for both the Oregon coast and southern part of the Washington coast, with beach hazards lasting from now all the way through next week. Normally, beach hazard statements are in effect for a day or two, but the NWS has issued a warning that sneaker waves are a much greater danger through Tuesday on the south Oregon coast, but at least through Wednesday on the northern half and into the Washington coastline. (Photo courtesy Mike Decker / Oregon King Tides, showing Rockaway Beach, which will likely look like this at some points this week)

Meanwhile, a major light show is in the sky above the U.S. and the world tonight as the Northern Lights are dazzling humans around the globe – but the Pacific Northwest won't be able to see them.

For the areas of Raymond, Washington, southward to Florence – including Long Beach, Seaside, Manzanita, Lincoln City and Newport – the NWS is saying beaches can be a dangerous place through Wednesday.

For Florence down through Brookings, Tuesday is when things calm down on the beaches.

The NWS said to keep children and pets off the surf zone, stay off jetties and keep far from any large logs on the beaches, as these can be picked up by even a minimum of water.

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This will make incredible viewing – if you can take the heavy rains – but extremely dangerous beaches as offshore wave height is going to reach to 20 feet sometimes.

See 'Wave Height' Explained Along Oregon, Washington Coast: What It Means

“No place on the beach is too high for a wave to reach,” the NWS said in its warnings. “Sneaker waves can surge high up the beach without warning, catching an inattentive individual off guard. These waves can move with great speed further up the beach than you expect.”

See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

The NWS said it's a series of storms back-to-back that are making these unusually-long warnings. It's only about a week after king tides hit both coastlines.

“An extended period of sustained wave action is expected as a series of fronts moves through the region along with multiple moderate swell trains,” the NWS said. “Breaking waves of 15 to 20 ft will coincide with higher than normal ocean levels, leading to an increased risk of beach erosion. Additionally, there is a minor risk of sneaker waves as these swell trains build into the waters.”


Two places to check this week include Cape Disappointment and Shore Acres

The period between swells is rather high to exceptionally high at 12 seconds to over 15 seconds at times, which is what causes the dangers of sneaker waves.

However, the NWS did note that strong winds may interfere with the larger waves, mitigating some of the threat.

Much of Oregon and southern Washington are also under flood watch conditions, and some high winds are predicted for areas like Portland and the Coast Range.

In the Totally Bummer Weather News Department, the Pacific Northwest – including Seattle, Portland, Medford, Silverton, etc – has a really good chance of catching an absolutely flooring show of the Aurora Borealis. Yet then there's that weather.

It's all dreary skies in the region.


In Spokane earlier this year: courtesy NWS

According to OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd, the next 48 hours have a good chance to be stunning, if you could see it. Others around the United States took some incredible shots of the Northern Lights this a.m. overnight.

Todd said the K-index (measurement of solar wind activity) is exceptional for us.

“The Planetary K-index is near 7kp, which is visibility for 40 to 45 N latitude,” Todd said. MORE STORM PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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