Dark and Stormy Night

By: NewportOr , 3:56 PM GMT on January 11, 2014

Saturday, Jan. 11th – Lincoln County

Summary: Maybe this sounds like the opening line of a bad novel, but, it was a dark and stormy night. After yesterday’s calm and cloudy morning, the predicted storm rolled in by late afternoon, though it didn’t arrive with a big bang. The wind rose slowly into the evening and peaked in the early morning hours today. Wind speeds were very near forecast levels building to near 60 mph overnight. Rain wasn’t terribly impressive with generally about half an inch recorded. This morning, the wind is down to southwest 25 mph gusting 35; it is overcast and a few raindrops are falling. Temperatures ranged from the upper-40s to low-50s.

Peak Wind Gusts Overnight (in miles per hour):
Lincoln City - 53
Depoe Bay - 54
Newport - 58
Waldport – 56
Yachats 50*
* One unmanned weather station at Yachats recorded a gust of 70 mph, but not sure of the accuracy because it is such an outlier. Elsewhere along the coast, Astoria airport reported a few gusts in excess of 60 mph, with the highest being 64. The NOAA weather station at Garibaldi reported 73 mph and an ODOT wind sensor on the Astoria-Megler Bridge had a peak gust of 79 mph. The big winner is the BPA site on Naselle Ridge in Pacific County, Washington, with a gust of 93 mph. But this site is highly elevated at 2,000 feet and exposed.

Past 24 hours high/low/rain...
Lincoln City/Depoe Bay: 53F/48F/0.61”
Newport: 52F/46F/0.58”
Yachats/Waldport: 52F/47F/0.61”

Forecast: We’re not out of the woods yet. Another blast of wind and rain is scheduled for today following a brief lull this morning. And, we can add possible thunderstorms into the mix. Last night’s storm was produced by a warm front coming through; today it’s the same system’s cold front which will create slightly cooler temperatures and unstable air. The heaviest rain of this current stretch may come today, especially in any thunderstorms. We could see an inch or better, along with west-southwest winds rebuilding to 35-40 mph gusting 60. Tonight, showers and a continuing chance of thunderstorms, but west winds down to 20-25 mph gusting 40. Tomorrow, the actual low pressure system associated with the current storm comes ashore to produce steady rain turning to showers with southwest winds 15-20 mph gusting 30.

The High Wind Warning remains in effect through 10:00pm tonight for west to southwest winds 25-40mph gusting to 60. The strongest today are expected between 1:00pm and 7:00pm.

A High Surf Warning goes into effect at 4:00pm this afternoon and remains in place through tomorrow 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 tonight’s high tide.

Outlook is for a drying trend beginning Monday with a few showers and sunbreaks, and then partly to mostly cloudy skies, but no rain, the rest of the week. Temperatures staying in the 40s and 50s.

Travel: Highways 18, 20 and 34 to and from the Central Coast are open and will be well above freezing through the weekend with wet pavement. However, high winds, gusting up to 60 mph, will continue through tonight. Limbs and/or trees in the roadway are certainly not out of the question. Heavier rainfall today may cause ponding on the pavement. ODOT says there is already standing water on Highway 34 near Alsea Mountain Summit. On Highway 101, coastal flooding could bring water over low-lying roadways tonight (like the usual spots in Seaside and Tillamook). And, because of the high winds, those in high profile vehicles such as RVs should avoid travel along the coast today through tomorrow morning. In the Cascades, a Winter Storm Warning is up for heavy snow and blizzard conditions today through tomorrow morning. Up to 2 feet of snow is possible on highway passes with winds 20-30 mph gusting to 70 in exposed locations.

Marine: A real commotion on the ocean... SSW winds are 25-30 knots this morning and seas around 17 feet. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars are closed to all recreational and uninspected passenger vessels. The Storm Warning for local waters has been downgraded to a Gale Warning. SW wind 35 knots gusting 40 this morning, then veering to W 30 knots this afternoon. Seas building to 24 feet today, and up to 30 feet by tonight. Winds easing to 15-20 knots gusting 25 after midnight, seas holding at 30 feet. Tomorrow, SW wind 20-25 knots, seas subsiding to 18 feet by afternoon. Outlook is for SW winds down to 10-15 knots by Monday, and coming around to the NE 5-10 knots by Tuesday with seas about 10 feet.

On the Beach... Rain, thunderstorms, high winds, surf building to 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.
01/11 Sat 08:24 AM 8.87 H
01/11 Sat 03:35 PM 0.52 L
01/11 Sat 10:16 PM 6.44 H
01/12 Sun 03:00 AM 3.75 L

In Short: Stormy, showers, then slow drying.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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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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