Saturday, Mar. 21st – Lincoln County
Summary: Right on schedule, yesterday’s storm began less than an hour before Spring officially arrived at 3:45pm. The southerly breeze ramped-up rapidly with rainfall not far behind. The peak wind gust for the day was 43 mph at Yachats, which also claimed top honors in the precipitation department with over a third of an inch. High temperatures came in around 60F. The heaviest steady rain was over by midnight albeit the southwest wind held on until early this morning, accompanied by a few hefty showers. At daybreak, skies were quickly clearing and the breeze had fallen to light.
Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 62F/53F/40mph/0.24”
Depoe Bay: 59F/48F/35mph/0.13”
Forecast: We’re between weather systems today, so Spring Break kicks off with a mix of sunshine and clouds, moderate winds and highs of 55-60F. Increasing clouds and a slight chance of rain are on tap for tonight, lows of 45F, and then rain again tomorrow with up to half an inch possible; the thermometer stops around 55F. Outlook is for breezy at times and rain continuing Sunday night through Monday night, leaving another inch or so of wet stuff in the gauges. Showers on Tuesday, a chance of rain Wednesday, sunny and warm Thursday (it could hit 65F), and back to a chance of rain next Friday.
Travel: In the Coast Range today, showers, partly cloudy, with 55-60F. Valley destinations are expecting a chance of showers, partial clearing and highs of 60-65F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast calls for showers likely, moderate west winds, temps near 65F. For the Cascades, there is wet pavement at Government Camp, slush/snow on Santiam Pass, and snow flurries at Willamette Pass this morning, temperatures are 30-35F; windy, snow showers, 1-2 inches accumulation, the snow level is at or below the passes at 4,000 feet. Outlook for weekend travelers is mainly wet pavement at the lower elevations.
A Special Weather Statement has been issued by the National Weather Service for the Cascades including highway passes at Government Camp, Santiam Pass and Willamette Pass. Snow levels lowering to near the passes this weekend with some accumulating snow finally returning at times through at least Monday. A Pacific cold front moved through Northwest Oregon on Friday night and snow levels will be lowering to near pass elevations today. Snow accumulations will be 1-2 inches at most today. Another cold front will be moving through the Cascades on Sunday while snow levels hover around or just below pass elevations, and this front will likely produce 2-4 inches. This will be followed by yet another system late Sunday night and Monday. Computer models suggest snow amounts as high as 3-6 inches possible on Monday. A warm front will be lifting through the area Tuesday and Wednesday. A few more inches of snow are possible Tuesday before the snow level rises to above the passes by Wednesday.
If you have travel planned through the Cascades, be prepared for Winter driving conditions. Carry chains or traction tires, as well as extra provisions should you become delayed while crossing the mountains. Studded tires are still legal in Oregon through March 31st.
Cascades Snow Pack: Currently 23”; a loss of 1” since yesterday; an overall loss of 5” in the past seven days; 93” less than this date last year; 94% below the 30-year average Snow Water Equivalent (total amount of moisture in the snow pack).
Ski Report – New Snow/Base/Condition…
Willamette Pass 0”/0”/closed for season
Mt. Bachelor 0”/40”/wide variety
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 0”/1”/tubing only
Mt. Hood Meadows 0”/22”/frozen and loose granular
Timberline 0”/20”/spring riding
Marine: The breeze is SW 15-20 knots with some higher gusts this morning and seas are rough, 8-10 feet at 8-10 seconds. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay bar is closed to recreational vessels 32 feet and less, and to uninspected passenger vessels 26 feet and less. Yaquina Bay bar is closed to all recreational and uninspected passenger vessels. A Small Craft Advisory for hazardous seas remains in effect until 11:00am. S winds 20-25 knots gusting 30 early today but easing to SW 5-10 knots by this afternoon with seas 8 feet at 10 seconds. Tonight, S winds 5-10 knots backing to SE after midnight and swells dropping to 6 feet. Another weather system impacts local waters tomorrow with S wind rising to 15-20 knots but seas remaining around 6 feet at 9 seconds. Outlook is for southerlies Monday through Wednesday 5-15 knots gusting 20 at times; swells building from 8 to 11 feet by Tuesday, but subsiding to 7 feet midweek.
Notice to Mariners… Newport’s Blessing of the Fleet is today beginning with Survival Suit Races at the Newport Tradewinds dock below Mo’s Annex at 9:30am. Then fishermen, wives and friends board their vessels at 11:45am and get in line up and down Yaquina Bay. At 1:00pm the Blessing ceremony begins with a Coast Guard Helicopter fly-over, followed by the parade of vessels moving westward toward the Yaquina Bay Bridge where a priest/minister will perform a blessing on each passing boat.
On the Beach… Sun and clouds, windy early, surf 7-8 feet (moderate).
* Oregon Parks and Recreation is hosting Whale Watch Week today through next Saturday, March 28th, at twenty-four designated sites along the coast. Trained volunteers from the ‘Whale Watching Spoken Here’ program will help visitors spot gray whales migrating north from Baja California to Alaska. Details and site locations are available here.
03/21 Sat 07:38 AM -0.36 L
03/21 Sat 01:52 PM 8.79 H
03/21 Sat 07:51 PM 0.21 L
03/22 Sun 02:07 AM 9.47 H
In Short: Mixed sky, drying, breeze easing, then more rain.