Saturday, Dec. 20th – Lincoln County
Summary: Extreme amounts of rainfall and possible flooding are projected for today and tomorrow; see Forecast below. High surf conditions continue through this evening; see On the Beach below.
Yesterday’s run-up to this weekend’s Big Wet Storm was an amusing mix of thunderstorms, showers, sunny periods, fairly light winds and highs around 55F. The locomotive pulling the storm train arrived at the Central Coast station at 8:00pm last night as steady precipitation started and the breeze intensified. As we went through the late evening and overnight, both rain and wind picked up substantially. Top gusts were 56 mph on the Yaquina Bay Bridge and 67 mph at Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range. Rainfall totals came in at about an inch and a half with the mercury remaining in the neighborhood of 55F. At daybreak, it was raining cats & dogs and the sou’wester was puffing up to 40 mph or so.
Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 55F/45F/38mph/1.73”
Depoe Bay: 54F/44F/44mph/1.69”
Forecast: A Flood Watch remains in effect from this afternoon through Monday afternoon. The Coast Range, foothills and Cascades are expected to see in the range of 6-12 inches of rain with locally higher amounts possible. Projected rainfall along the Central Coast is predicted to be around 4-8 inches. In the Valley, 2-5 inches are expected.
The latest forecast rainfall totals show a strong potential for flooding over the weekend on numerous rivers and tributaries draining the Coast Range and Cascades. A few rivers may reach major flood stage. In our area, major flooding is possible along the Mary’s River, which is fed by several streams in the Coast Range. Other Coast Range rivers, including the Siletz, Alsea, and Siuslaw, may also see flooding.** The current river stage forecasts indicate that the faster responding rivers could reach flood stage as early as this evening. In addition to river flooding there are likely to be impacts from urban and small stream flooding, and flooding along low lying pasture lands.
** Current local river levels and forecasts are available here.
The excessive rainfall also has the potential to create landslides and debris flows. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes, in river valleys and near the mouths of valleys may be at serious risk from rapidly moving landslides.
Forecast details for the Central Coast. Besides the heavy rainfall today, 1-2 inches, expect southwest winds peaking just below high wind criteria, blowing 35-40 mph gusting 50-55 with steady temperatures around 55F. Tonight, another 1-2 inches of rain and the breeze subsides to 25-30 mph gusting 45-50. The heavy rain continues tomorrow with yet another 1-2 inches, west-southwest winds drop to 20-25 mph gusting 30-35 and the thermometer shoots for 60F. Outlook is for a 50-50 chance of rain on Monday and Tuesday, highs and lows of 50F-55F.
Christmas Eve/Day… Showers, partly cloudy, cooler, low 34F, high 47F. The chance of snow is less than 20%.
Travel: A Flood Watch is in effect for all areas. In the Coast Range today, heavy rain and possible water ponding on the highways with highs of 50-55F. Valley destinations are expecting heavy rain, possible street and highway flooding and 55F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast is very heavy rain, 2-3 inches, possible street and highway flooding, temps around 50F. For the Cascades, there is ice, packed snow and/or slush on all highway passes this morning, more snow early today with 2-5 inches accumulation; the snow level is at 4,500 feet but increasing to 6,500 feet, well above the passes this afternoon, and snow changing to rain. Carry chains or traction tires. Outlook for weekend travelers is heavy rain with possible street, road and highway flooding through Sunday night.
Cascades Snow Pack: NRCS snow pack sensors are offline due to technical problems.
Ski Report – New Snow/Base/Condition…
Willamette Pass 1”/4”/Closed
Mt. Bachelor 8”/41”/Open, fresh powder
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 1”/20”/Open, Snow Tube & Adventure Park
Mt. Hood Meadows 2”/7”/Open, Buttercup only
Timberline 1”/14”/Open, Bruno’s, and Pucci weather permitting
Marine: It’s blowin’ like a bandit this morning, 30-35 knots gusting 40-45, and seas are extremely rough, 22 feet at 19 seconds. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay bar is under a Captain of the Port closure for all vessels. Yaquina Bay bar has not reported. A Gale Warning is in effect through this evening. S wind today 25-35 knots gusting 40 along with combined seas 20-24 feet, dominant period 17 seconds. Tonight, the breeze eases by midnight to SW 20-25 knots and seas fall to 17 feet. Winds go westerly tomorrow, 20-25 knots early but fading to 15-20 knots in the afternoon with lumpy seas around 15 feet at 13 seconds. Outlook is for less snotty weather Monday with S wind 10 knots and swells down to 12 feet, but still steep at 13 seconds. Southerlies are expected on Tuesday, 15-20 knots, with swells 14 feet. A change to NW winds on Wednesday, 15-20 knots, and a 12 foot swell.
On the Beach… Heavy rain, breezy, surf 20 feet (high).
* A High Surf Advisory is in effect until 7:00pm this evening for the Central Coast. Surf will build to around 20 feet this morning and continue throughout the day, slowly subsiding this evening. A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion. Stay off of jetties, offshore rocks, rocky shores and sandy beaches today. These areas may be periodically inundated by surf, especially during this morning’s high tide. Be aware of sneaker waves that will be significantly higher than those that precede or follow them. There could be 15-30 minutes between today’s largest sneaker waves. Never turn your back on the ocean.
12/20 Sat 10:08 AM 9.63 H
12/20 Sat 05:12 PM -0.80 L
12/20 Sat 11:52 PM 7.24 H
12/21 Sun 04:47 AM 3.34 L
In Short: Heavy rain, windy, then extremely wet with blustery winds.