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20 to 30-Foot Waves on Washington / Oregon Coast: Wind and Surf Advisories

Published 01/04/23 at 12:09 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

20 to 30-Foot Waves on Washington / Oregon Coast: Wind and Surf Advisories

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(Newport, Oregon) – A rather forceful offshore storm is bringing a variety of warnings and advisories to parts of the Oregon coast and upper Washington coast, as wave height offshore will be producing large breakers well over 20 feet on Thursday. (Photo of Boiler Bay near Depoe Bay, courtesy Amy Kathleen Williams / Oregon King Tides)

The southern Oregon coast will be getting some of the most dramatic conditions, with a high surf warning for everything south of Reedsport, looking at breaking waves around 30 to 35 feet. This is in effect for Wednesday through Friday morning. The period between swells is also sizable in this area, at around 15 seconds at times. This brings in a high chance of sneaker waves.

That entire half of the coast also sees a high wind warning from 10 a.m. on Wednesday to Thursday at 4 p.m., with gusts up to 80 mph at times. This includes the cities of Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings.

20 to 30-Foot Waves on Washington / Oregon Coast: Wind and Surf Advisories
Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection: Fogarty Creek near Depoe Bay

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued these warnings, and the agency said the area south of Cape Blanco will get the highest winds and surf.

On the upper Washington coast and the inner coastline, there is a high wind advisory in effect from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. East winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected in areas like Forks and Aberdeen, with gusts up around 50 mph.

On the upper Oregon coast and southern Washington coast, surf conditions will still be rather hefty, although the NWS has not issued any alerts for that region. Thursday will be the most active, the NWS said.

“With uptick of winds, will see a lot of wind-driven waves, creating chaotic seas of 20 to 25 ft, with highest seas Thursday afternoon into Thursday night,” the NWS said. “Seas will gradually drop back to the mid-teens on Friday. This active weather pattern continues into the weekend.”

Whatever this brings in terms of storm watching, it will nonetheless be unpleasant conditions to be outdoors, with lots of wind and rain.

On any beach from Reedsport southward, it will not be a good idea to get onto the sands or close to any rocky ledges where the surf is breaking. The NWS said to stay off any beach during this period.

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“Extremely large breaking waves will create very hazardous conditions along beaches and area shorelines,” the NWS said in its warning for the south coast. “Waves will inundate beaches and surge into normally dry areas. Infrastructure damage and significant beach erosion can be expected.”

Power outages due to the high winds may well occur on the south coast.

“Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles,” the NWS said of that area.

In fact, a semi truck was turned over on the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport during last week's storm, because of such winds.

Areas like Shore Acres or Cape Arago near Coos Bay will be putting on quite a spectacle. Watching the Devil's Churn from above (near Yachats) should also be raucous, as will areas around Depoe Bay or Oceanside.

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Ecola State Park in a storm, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Shore Acres, photo courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

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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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