A Screeching Halt

By: NewportOr , 3:10 PM GMT on March 25, 2014

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Tuesday, Mar. 25th – Lincoln County

Summary: Spring Breakers and Whale Watchers got one more day of dry and mostly sunny weather yesterday. High temperatures were nearly the warmest so far this year but the devil was in the details as blustery southwest winds reared up about noon portending an approaching storm system. Clouds slowly thickened through the day. Then, our dry weather came to a screeching halt when the predicted front arrived about 3:30am this morning accompanied by a respectable shot of rain and wind. The steady rain had turned to showers at daybreak and lows were in the upper 40s.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Rain/Wind Gust...
Lincoln City: 67F/50F/0.16”/41mph
Depoe Bay: 62F/46F/0.22”/27mph
Newport: 63F/46F/0.17”/35mph
Waldport: 61F/46F/0.11”/28mph
Yachats: 60F/45F/0.16”/34mph

Forecast: The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for an abrupt change to wet and cool conditions this week. Rainfall totals could surpass two inches for the Central Coast, higher amounts in the Coast Range, and heavy snow in the Cascades. Thunderstorms are possible through Wednesday night. Heavy rain is forecast for Friday into the weekend. Southwest winds of 45-50 mph may impact the coast at various times from today through Saturday. That said, for today, expect showers and potential thunderstorms, southerly winds 20-30 mph gusting 45, and a high of 55F. Tonight, showers with a continued chance of thunderstorms, a south wind 15-25 mph gusting 40, and a low of 45F. Tomorrow, more showers and thunderstorms, a southerly breeze of 10-25 mph, and a high again about 55F. Outlook is for rainy and breezy through the weekend. In fact, long range forecasts (see Weather Factoid below) are predicting some amount of rain every day for the next two weeks.

Travel: At 8:00am, Highways 18, 20 and 34 are open through the Coast Range, at 45F and have wet pavement. Highway 101 along the Central Coast is wet with no delays. Valley destinations are above freezing with wet pavement. In the Cascades, highways are currently wet and at about 40F, but the freezing level drops to the passes this afternoon and 1-3 inches of snow is forecast. Carry chains or traction tires.

Cascades Snow Pack: Currently 112”, a loss of 1” since yesterday, or 71% of normal.

Ski Report - New Snow Inches/Total Inches/Condition...
Hoodoo 0/48/Packed Powder
Willamette Pass 0/26/Machine Groomed
Mt Bachelor 0/103/Machine Groomed
Mt Hood Meadows 0/107/Hard Packed
Mt Hood Ski Bowl 0/26/Machine Groomed
Timberline Lodge 0/73/Machine Groomed

Marine: As expected, rough conditions have developed offshore this morning with S winds 25-30 knots, the swell is at 10 feet and wind waves are over 7 feet. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay bar is restricted for recreational vessels 22 feet and less. Yaquina Bay bar is unrestricted. A Gale Warning is in effect through this afternoon for S winds 25-30 knots gusting to 40, combined seas building to 15 feet late this afternoon, and a chance for thunderstorms. Tonight, wind gusts ease to 30 knots after midnight, W swell at 13 feet, isolated thunderstorms. Tomorrow, a SW breeze 15-20 knots gusting 25 with seas about 12 feet. Outlook is for stormy southerly weather the remainder of the week. SW winds 20-25 knots gusting to gale force at times and a westerly swell of 10-15 feet.

On the Beach... Showers, thunderstorms, breezy, surf 10-12 feet (moderate).
California gray whales are migrating north and Whale Watch Week, on now through Saturday, is a great time to see them. Central Coast locations staffed by volunteers to help you spot the whales include Spanish Head, Boiler Bay, Depoe Bay, Rocky Creek, Cape Foulweather, Devils Punchbowl, Yaquina Head and Don Davis Park.
Tides
03/25 Tue 07:38 AM 7.80 H
03/25 Tue 02:42 PM 0.11 L
03/25 Tue 09:29 PM 6.70 H
03/26 Wed 02:52 AM 2.82 L

In Short: Wet and windy, then wet and windy.

Weather Factoid: Long range weather forecasts are based on equal parts of computer modeling and Kentucky windage; in other words, educated guesses. To accurately predict the weather past the next 24-36 hours is difficult enough, given the dynamic nature of the atmosphere. But a week out, is even tougher. So it follows that a two-week outlook is going to be dicey at best. The problem, really, is computing power. While we all think our 2 terabyte hard drives and 4Ghz processors permit massive computations, to truly keep tabs on the immense and mutable atmosphere would require more supercomputers than now exist on the planet. So, meteorologists use as much computational muscle as they can leverage, throw in a little intuition and pour over historical weather data to map out the long range forecast.

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About NewportOr

Coastal forecaster, weather observer and offshore sailor specializing in the local nuances of Central Oregon Coast weather for residents and visitors.

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