Friday, Jan. 10th – Lincoln County
Summary: Thursday’s dress rehearsal went pretty well, as Central Coast residents prepared for the really big weather event ahead. The third storm in as many days to batter the coast yesterday arrived as advertised. It was indeed more powerful than the two previous systems this week. Southwest winds were generally around 35 mph with a peak gust of 50mph recorded on the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Rainfall amounts were near predictions at a half inch or less. Temperature variations were slight, remaining in the upper-40s to low-50s. This morning, it’s the classic case of the calm before the storm with very little wind, overcast, some fog and temps in the 40s.
Past 24 hours high/low/rain…
Lincoln City/Depoe Bay: 52F/48F/0.48”
Forecast: Let’s lay it on the line. The approaching storm is a really big one, the most powerful so far this Winter. The National Weather Service has upgraded to a High Wind Warning, which is in effect from 4:00pm this afternoon through 10:00pm tomorrow night. The strongest winds are expected between midnight tonight and 6:00am Saturday. Projections show steady southwest winds of 35-45 mph gusting 75 mph knots or higher along beaches and headlands, and up to 60 mph or higher in our Central Coast communities. A direction change to west wind, and a slight easing of speeds, is shown for tomorrow morning, but the breeze is forecast to rebuild and peak again Saturday afternoon and evening. Possible impacts include significant tree damage and power outages. In addition, rainfall of up to 2 inches or so with this storm may cause some minor flooding, and landslides are always a possibility with the soaked ground.
A High Surf Warning has also been posted for the period from 4:00pm Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning at 10:00am. Storm seas offshore could reach 30 feet and the inshore surf will be immense, causing wave run-up clear to the sea cliffs. The beaches will be exceptionally dangerous all weekend. Other possible impacts include minor flooding and beach/cliff erosion as the highest surf arrives during Saturday night’s high tide.
Outlook is for rain turning to showers and much lighter winds by late Sunday. There’s even a good chance for some sunshine Monday through mid-week. Temperatures in the 40s to low-50s are expected throughout the extended period, and no significant wind events after Sunday.
Travel: Highways 18, 20 and 34 will be above 40F today with wet pavement. But the situation changes rapidly this evening with very high winds, up to 5, in the forecast. There’s always a good chance of limbs or entire trees being blown into the roadway. And, rainfall may cause ponding on the pavement. In fact, that’s already the case this morning on Highway 34 at Alsea Mountain Summit. On Highway 101, coastal flooding may also cause water to move over low lying roadways. And, because of the high winds, those in high profile vehicles such as RVs should avoid travel along the coast tonight through Saturday afternoon. In the Cascades, highway passes are passable this morning, but by tonight a Winter Storm Watch kicks in for heavy snow and blizzard conditions. That’s predicted to last through Saturday night, maybe into Sunday morning. It will not be a good time to try crossing the Cascades.
Marine: Batten down the hatches and head for port. While this morning is rough enough, SSW wind 10-15 knots and seas at 14 feet, rapidly deteriorating conditions are predicted for later today. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars are closed to all recreational and uninspected passenger vessels today. A Storm Warning is in effect from this afternoon through tomorrow morning. SW winds increasing to 25-30 knots gusting 45, seas 15 feet. By tonight S winds rise to 35-40 knots gusting 50, seas build to 17 feet. Tomorrow and tomorrow night, SW winds remaining 30-35 knots gusting 45-50, seas to 30 feet. Outlook is for abating southerlies, down to 20-25 knots on Sunday, seas falling to 19 feet, and down to 16 feet Sunday night. Monday the SW breeze should be dropping below advisory levels, seas 16 feet. And by Tuesday, light E wind, seas 11 feet.
On the Beach… Rain, high winds, surf building to 20-30 feet. (See High Surf Warning in the Forecast section above.) Storm watchers can anticipate high winds and huge surf this weekend. But plan on viewing this storm from a safe distance; the beaches themselves will be extremely hazardous. Dangerous surf may move large debris items like logs up onto beaches. Avoid walking on jetties, rocks, coastal cliffs, driftwood logs and anywhere along the water’s edge. Waves may rise unexpectedly and sweep you into the turbulent and frigid water.
01/10 Fri 02:42 PM 0.91 L
01/10 Fri 09:14 PM 6.14 H
01/11 Sat 02:00 AM 3.56 L
01/11 Sat 08:24 AM 8.87 H
In Short: Stormy.