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Washington / Oregon Coast Sneaker Wave Dangers; Snow in Passes

Published 12/11/21 at 6:22 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Washington / Oregon Coast Sneaker Wave Dangers; Snow in Passes

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(Seaside, Oregon) – The fun here never stops. Now that the heavy wind event is over for the Oregon coast and Washington coast, it's time for gnarly waves on the beaches and snow in the Coast Range passes. 20-foot waves will be crashing on the south coast. (Above: Westport, Washington, courtesy Westport Visitors / Experience Westport)

The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Seattle, Portland and Medford have issued a variety of different warnings and statements, with a high wind advisory for the south Oregon coast, a statement about increased danger of sneaker waves on the northern half and southern Washington coast, and a winter weather advisory for the Coast Range passes.

There are also plenty of warnings about heavy snow issues in the Cascades and the possibility of snow in the higher elevations of the valley.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

“Sneaker wave chances increase this weekend through Monday,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “This means that there may be higher energy waves that will run up beaches farther than other waves. With sneaker waves, they can easily dislodge logs from the shoreline, and knock people and animals off of jetties. Remember to never turn your back to the ocean, and keep an eye on children.”

For the northern half of the Oregon coast and southern part of Washington's coastline, the NWS issued a simple beach hazards statement, in effect from tonight through Sunday and Monday.

On the south coast, it's a high surf advisory for the areas of Reedsport, Coos Bay, Bandon and Brookings, in effect from today through 4 p.m. on Monday.

“An approximately 18 ft at 14 second westerly swell pushes ashore,” the NWS said of the upper half. “This will result in an increased risk of sneaker waves along the coast. “The surf zone will be more dangerous than usual, as high-energy swells may result in powerful surf that can easily sweep people or animals off rocks and beaches and into the cold water.”

Down south in Curry, Douglas and Coos counties, large breaking waves of 20 to 25 feet are expected.

“Large breaking waves will create hazardous conditions along and within the surf zone, and could inundate beaches and low lying shorelines,” the NWS said. “Beach erosion is possible, and exposed infrastructure may be damaged.”

Enormous amounts of rain will be pummeling the region through Monday, with as much as two inches coming down through that day. Sunday may also see thunderstorms along the coastline, which will make for an exciting storm-watching atmosphere.

Along the Coast Range passes from the Washington coast's Willapa Hills down through the Florence – Eugene area, there is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect through late Sunday evening. Snow levels will drop down to 1500 feet, according to the NWS, resulting in snow accumulations of 3 to 7 inches. Driving could be an issue, especially at night.

“Travel could be challenging at times,” the NWS said. “Slow down and use caution while traveling. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.”

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