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Wind Warnings for Oregon / Washington Coast; Snow, Big Waves Early Week

Published 12/10/21 at 5:22 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Wind Warnings for Oregon / Washington Coast; Snow, Big Waves Early Week

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(Astoria, Oregon) – Snow in the Coast Range passes, high wind warnings and maybe some dangerous seas: it’s all coming to a Washington or Oregon coast beach or coast range pass near you this week.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high warning for the entirety of the Oregon and Washington coast for Saturday, in place at different times depending on the region. On Sunday and Monday, there is a good possibility for extremely large waves, maybe even sneaker wave dangers. Then, expect some snow in the Coast Range passes on Tuesday.

Expect wind gusts up around 65 mph in most areas.

“Some damage can be expected from the high winds, especially to signs, tree limbs and power lines,” the NWS said. “Power outages are possible. Drive with extreme caution in the warning area and be prepared for flying debris.”

On the north and central Washington coast, the high wind warning is in effect from Friday evening through Saturday morning, with south winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph possible.

On the south Washington coast beaches and headlands, they’re looking at similar winds, with the warning in effect from 7 p.m. Friday through 7 a.m. Saturday.

For the north and central Oregon coast (from Astoria down through Florence), the warning is in effect from 1 a.m. Saturday through 1 p.m. that day. Similarly, gusts up to 65 mph are expected along the exposed beaches and headlands.

Along the southern Oregon coast – from Reedsport down through Gold Beach and Brookings – the high wind warning is in effect from 4 a.m. on Saturday through 4 p.m. that day. Slightly lesser winds are predicted, with gusts between 55 and 65 mph.

The NWS said the western slopes of the Coast Range should see about two to four inches of rain on Saturday.

Snow levels will again be falling to the upper parts of the Oregon Coast Range, especially on the northern half of the coastline. They stay well above 1800 feet through Monday night, when they’ll fall to that level – which will largely only affect Highway 26 and Highway 18. However, Tuesday you can expect snow above the 1400-foot mark in the coast range highways, which could make things dangerous for much of that day.

Snow levels rise considerably on Wednesday afternoon, but you may get a glimpse of white by the sides of the roads for a day or so on the way to the beaches.

“A deep upper level trough will drop out of the Gulf of Alaska behind the front Sat night and amplify offshore on Sunday,” the NWS said. “Expect snow levels to fall again behind the front with mainly southwest flow, which should maintain a cool and showery pattern.”

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

On the beaches, it could well be a wild one for waves over the weekend and into the early week, with the NWS predicting some extremely large swells out at sea and a long period between them. That long period could spell trouble for beachgoing after the big waves, but so far the NWS has not issued any warnings. The largest action may well be farther out to sea as well.

Mammoth waves in Westport, courtesy Westport Visitors

However, the NWS said that south winds will be picking up and seas will eventually get to 16 to 18 feet at 15 seconds by late Saturday and early Sunday. There’s a good chance seas will build even higher on Monday.

Saturday won’t be a day for hanging around the beaches in any case with those heavy winds. But Sunday and Monday should at least provide some entertaining wave action, if not some dangerous conditions out there. Keep an eye on Oregon Coast Beach Connection for further warnings should they arise.

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Photos above courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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