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Surf Warnings, High Wind Warnings, Flooding for Oregon / Washington Coast: UPDATES

Updated 10/23/21 at 4:56 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surf Warnings, High Wind Warnings, Flooding for Oregon / Washington Coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – [UPDATE: POSSIBILTIES OF WATERSPOUTS / TORNADOES ON SUNDAY] ---- A wide array of storm warnings and watches have been issued for both the Oregon and the Washington coast, as another weather system is set to kick in and bring flooding, dangerous surf, and high winds to the beach towns of almost the entire Pacific Northwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Seattle, Medford and Portland have issued these, including a high wind watch for the Washington coast and upper half of Oregon’s coast, a high wind warning for the south Oregon coast, and coastal flooding and high surf warnings for the entire Oregon coast and southern Washington coast. These are largely for Sunday through Tuesday. This now includes the possibility of waterspouts or tornadoes forming in the region, although the NWS said it is not a high likelihood.

It will be extremely dangerous on beaches, with more than 30-foot waves expected onshore in many areas.

High Wind Warnings Oregon / Washington Coast. From the tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula down through Brookings, the NWS offices in both states have issued high wind warning in effect for Sunday and Monday.

Southeast winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph are possible along the upper Washington coast. From Ocean Park down through the central Oregon coast, south winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 65 mph are possible near beaches and headlands. A high wind warning is effect for the southern Oregon coast on Sunday, with gusts up to 70 mph.

High Surf Warnings Oregon Coast Through South Washington Coast. The NWS has issued a more direct high surf warning for the southern Oregon coast, in effect from 7 p.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. on Tuesday. That covers Brookings through roughly Reedsport.

However, the NWS has taken the unusual step of issuing a surf warning for the south Washington coast and northern half of Oregon’s coast by embedding it in the coastal flood warning for that area, making it not quite as clear. Conditions will be more severe up north, with the NWS saying 30 to 35-foot swells will be hitting the area from about Florence up through at least Wesport.

“Very hazardous sea conditions will exist on Sunday and Monday," the NWS said. “A large westerly swell will produce hazardous beach conditions with waves crashing over jetties, water moving logs on beaches & sneaker waves running much higher up the beach than usual."

It all begins far offshore.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

“A large building west-southwesterly swell most likely somewhere on the order of 25-30 feet will push onto the coast late Sunday into Monday," the NWS said. “This will result in combined seas building towards 30-35 feet. As a result, expect very high surf that could result in property damage along the coast Sunday evening/night and a very dangerous sneaker wave threat lingering into Monday."

On the southern Oregon coast, it will still be extremely dangerous with large, breaking waves of 28 to 35 feet.

The NWS referred to all of this as “life-threatening."

Along the northern Washington coast, the NWS there has not issued any beach warnings just yet but has indicated surf will be extremely high there.

Coastal Flooding Warning For Northern Half of Oregon Coast, Southern Third of Washington. The Coastal Flood Warning is in effect from 8 p.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. Tuesday, with high tides around 4:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday.

“Major flooding, up to one foot above ground level, during high tides is expected along the immediate coast as well as low lying areas near bays, sloughs, and the lower reaches of the coastal rivers," the NWS said.

Unpredictable and destructive waves may swamp beaches and other areas – including lookouts, parking lots and jetties – with no warning. The NWS said beach erosion is quite possible.

Surf Warnings, High Wind Warnings, Flooding for Oregon / Washington Coast
Shore Acres near Coos Bay, photo courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

“In southwest Washington similar conditions in the past have resulted in significant flooding in Raymond, erosion to homes and roads near Washaway Beach along Highway 105 near North Cove, and/or erosion to campsites near Cape Disappointment," the NWS said. “In northwest Oregon similar conditions in the past have resulted in severe erosion near the south jetty of the Columbia River in Clatsop county, and/or flooding in Seaside, Cannon Beach, Neskowin, and/or the Pacific City Airport. On the central Oregon coast similar conditions in the past have resulted in severe erosion in Neskowin and/or Yachats, and flooding in Lincoln City."

This will be one of those infamous storm watch weekends where it will be unusually easy to get hurt, yet it will attract more visitors. Be sure to stay off all beaches during this period. Considering the wind conditions, you will want to find a place where you can waves from inside your car.

The period just before and after this event may be a better time to go look at places like Depoe Bay, Westport or Shore Acres near Coos Bay, where storm waves will likely still be putting on some kind of show.

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

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