Today’s strong winter storms along Oregon’s coast has prompted the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to issue a safety alert for coast visitors.
“The mix of high winds and heavy rains will bring storm watchers and beachcombers to the coast later this week,” said OPRD Beach Safety Education Coordinator Robert Smith. “We want to remind them of a few tips to stay safe.”
“Sneaker waves, which are always dangerous, are magnified by winter storm surges and we recommend people storm watch from headlands and viewpoints,” Smith said. “Also, our beaches become narrower when sand is eroded away leaving little room to escape at some points. Even the most experienced beachcombers can be caught unaware unless they stay alert.”
Logs and other beach debris in the wake of a storm are always hazards, he added. “Some logs that were well above the surf line and appeared safe in the summer may be unstable after being moved by high waves. It’s especially important now to stay clear of logs.”
Coastal cliffs also can be precarious. “The power of the ocean can have a long reach,” Smith said. “The rain and wind we’re having can cause unstable conditions on cliffs overlooking the ocean. Wandering off trails for a closer look can be a bad idea.”
While no coastal state parks have completely closed due to the storm, visitors are reminded to respect any closures that do happen. Parks sometimes close beach accesses and portions of parks due to flooding or other dangerous conditions, and keep them closed until they can be inspected for erosion or other damage.
To stay up to date on road closures and park conditions, travelers should refer to ODOT‚s Tripcheck service (http://tripcheck.com and by dialing 511), and the state park information line (http://tinyurl.com/parkbreakingnews and by dialing 1-800-551-6949).
Other beach safety tips and closer looks at the dangers of sneaker waves, rolling logs and rip currents are available at www.oregonbeachsafety.org.