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Oregon Coast Gets Sneakers Waves; Snow in Passes, Portland, Valley

Published 11/23/2019 at 1:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Gets Sneakers Waves; Snow in Passes, Portland, Valley

(Oregon Coast) – It’s going to be a busy holiday week in terms of weather, with sneaker waves on the Oregon coast, snow in the passes over Thanksgiving and in places like Portland, Salem and Eugene. There’s even the outside chance snow will make it to the valley floor – and even the beaches. (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

The National Weather Service (NWS) said snow levels will be dropping quickly mid week, but even before that the beaches will see large waves and the good possibility of dangerous sneaker waves over the weekend. Snow will start hitting about Thanksgiving so caution should be exercised when heading over the Coast Range passes for the holiday weekend, but coming back home should not be an issue.

It all starts this weekend with a helping of sneaker waves.

“Watch out for sneaker waves hitting the beaches through this weekend, and stay off the jetties and the logs,” the NWS said. “Logs on the beach are wet and extremely heavy and can weigh hundreds of pounds. Yet, a single sneaker wave can lift and roll these logs further up the beach, as well as roll them back down the beach. Log rolls have proven fatal. Never, never stand, sit or play on debris logs on the beach.”

The culprit is the long period swells continuing through Saturday, up around 18 seconds – coupled with combined seas of nearly 20 feet at times. The timing for swells allows waves to combine and create larger jumbles of breakers.

“While the period will ease slightly to around 15 seconds on Sunday, seas should remain in the 11 to 13 ft range through Sunday,” the NWS said.

From the southern Oregon coast up to Astoria, things start out sunny this weekend but quickly move to a pattern of rain – just as in valley towns such as Portland, Salem and Eugene.

On Tuesday, the snow level moves from 2000 feet down to 1800 feet, then later lowering further to 1300 feet. This puts the hilltop regions of Eugene, Portland and Salem under the possibility of snow – and certainly the higher points of the coast range passes to the beaches, such as Highway 38, Highway 26 or Highway 18.

By Wednesday and Thanksgiving, snow levels will be getting a bit lower to 1200 feet, but it seems this weather system will not stick around for the weekend. Be cautious heading to the Oregon coast for the Thanksgiving weekend, but it should be dry after that. See Willamette Valley Road Conditions, Traffic

The NWS said there’s still plenty of leeway in the forecast models that far out, and the agency is not sure how much snow – if any – will make it to the valley floor.

One meteorologist told Oregon Coast Beach Connection it is looking less and less likely there would be snow on the beaches, but it was still an “outside” possibility.

“For now, we continued to trend our forecast colder, with snow levels generally around 2000 feet Tuesday then down to 1000-1500 feet by Wednesday,” the NWS said. “Longer range guidance appears to be in decent agreement that the upper trough will park over the Pac NW through Thanksgiving, with scattered showers and possibly even a few flurries reaching down to the lowest elevations.”

Snow level predictions seem to get higher around Eugene than in Portland, according to the NWS forecasts. Even the southern Oregon coast will get chilly in the coast range, with snow levels lowering to 1200 feet there. See: Oregon Coast Weather || Washington Coast Weather || Oregon Coast Traffic Conditions

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