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Rollicking Week for Washington / Oregon Coast, 25-foot Waves, Chance Snow

Published 02/19/23 at 6:09 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rollicking Week for Washington / Oregon Coast, 25-foot Waves, Chance Snow

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – [UPDATE: SOUTH OREGON COAST NOW UNDER HIGH SURF ADVISORY] -- Get ready for a bit of a bracing week on the Oregon coast and Washington coast, as really large waves are expected to hit the beaches on Tuesday and then the possibilities of sea level snow or a really hard ice freeze come about. (Above: Gleneden Beach with some snow, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

The northern Washington coast and southern Oregon coast will see colder temps, sometimes matching areas like Medford or Seattle, which are looking at chances of snow. The northern half of Oregon's coast and southern half of the Washington coastline are staring down very chilly lows, but it will be much colder and a higher chance of snow inland from Eugene through to Vancouver.

In all coastal areas, the NWS is showing some mix of rain and snow at or near sea level on Wednesday, but that could materialize only in slightly higher elevations.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is looking at waves offshore rising to as much as 25 to 30 feet in some areas, hitting their peaks on Tuesday and Wednesday. There's a good chance the Washington coast and Oregon coast will get some kind of beach hazards statement or advisory on those days, but especially Tuesday.

UPDATE as of Sunday afternoon, the south Oregon coast is under a high surf advisory from Tuesday through Wednesday from the NWS, with waves 20 to 25 feet. This includes Reedsport through Brookings.

“Ensemble guidance suggests a 60 to 80 percent chance for significant wave heights of 20 feet Tuesday night into early Wednesday over the coastal waters,” the NWS said of the northern Washington coast.

Meanwhile, temps up north and a strong system are looking to bring a snow / rain mix down to sea level along the Olympic Peninsula coastline, including offshore waters.

Above: Cape Disappointment, Wash., photo courtesy Marie Marshall / Oregon King Tides

“Very light lowland snow showers can be possible during this time, likely less than half of an inch,” the NWS said.

The south Washington coast and northern half of Oregon will see warmer temps, according to the NWS. But this region – roughly Westport through Seaside and into Florence – will see larger wave height offshore.

“Strong winds upstream will produce a large fresh swell into the waters that will push seas into the 20-25 ft range across the waters Tuesday into Wednesday,” the NWS said of places like Newport or Manzanita.

That is some sizable, dangerous surf coming onto the beaches. However, the period between swells has not been displayed by the NWS that far out, so it's as yet unknown if these oceanic monsters will include sneaker wave issues.

Areas just inland from the coastline and eastward will see a chance of lowland snow, such as the I-5 corridor or Coast Range foothills, like McMinville.

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This large range from Florence through to Raymond may also see thunderstorms on Tuesday.

Waves there subside greatly on Thursday and stay there, although the NWS said there is a possibility another system may drag more freezing temps in over next weekend.

The southern Oregon coast gets the interesting mix, with some fairly steep seas tonight (Sunday), but then getting a break on Monday before they rise substantially on Tuesday and Wednesday. The NWS said from about Reedsport southward, combined seas will be building to as high 28 feet in some areas on Tuesday, maybe beyond 30 feet later that night. They stay over 25 feet on Wednesday before lowering to the teens that evening.

This translates to intesne wave watching at places like Cape Disappointment in Washington or the south coast's Shore Acres.

Yet it gets intensely cold on the south coast Friday and Saturday.

“Lows in the teens are possible west of the Cascades with a hard freeze possible along the coast,” the NWS said.

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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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