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Red Flag is Lowered

By: NewportOr , 4:01 PM GMT on January 25, 2014

Saturday, Jan. 25th – Lincoln County

Summary: Record, or near record, high temperatures and the east wind blowin’ like a bandit prompted the issuance of a Red Flag Warning for the Central Coast (and all coastal zones) at 9:30am yesterday morning. The unusual weather along the coast helped spark two wildfires near Arch Cape south of Cannon Beach, three outside of Coos Bay, and a small one at Tidewater off the Alsea Highway. It was an extremely abnormal combination of factors. High temperatures, exceptionally low relative humidity, strong east winds and tinder dry vegetation came together to create a potentially explosive fire situation. There are no comparable events in recent memory on the coast, especially in Winter. Due to a California-based thermal low extending up the coast, highs easily topped 60F, with Lincoln City, Waldport and Yachats setting new records for the date. East winds were 15-25 mph; the peak gust was 39 at Yachats. The breeze finally started dropping off around 10:00pm last night and the Red Flag Warning expired. However, you should still be extremely careful with any outdoor burning over the weekend. Skies were clear overnight with lows this morning in the 40s and the east wind is down to 10-15 mph.

Past 24 hours high/low - Historic record high...
Lincoln City: 62F*/47F - 57F (1959)
Depoe Bay: 65F/42F - 69F (2006)
Newport: 66F/43F - 69F (2006)
Waldport: 69F*/43F - 65F (1995)
Yachats: 67F*/45F - 65F (1995)
* New record high on Friday

Forecast: Both temperature and wind are forecast to ratchet down today. For Surfrider’s “Sifting Saturday” cleanup of marine plastics on the beach at Otter Rock this morning, expect sunshine and east winds 10-15 mph. High this afternoon 55-60F, and east winds fading further. Tonight on your way to the Robert Burns Supper at the Shilo in Newport, mostly clear skies and patchy fog. Overnight lows in the low-40s. Tomorrow, continued mostly sunny, high 55F or so, and light winds going calm by afternoon. Outlook is for ‘summer’ to end late Monday when the first in a string of weather disturbances moves in. For the week, the evidence is growing for mostly cloudy skies and varying chances of rain. Highs should be in the 50s and lows in the 40s, with southerly winds possibly strengthening by Thursday.

Travel: Highways 18, 20 and 34 are open but below freezing this morning with icy/frosty patches and areas of fog or freezing fog. Highway 101 temperatures are well above freezing through the Central Coast region. Valley destinations are frosty with patchy fog this morning. In the Cascades, highways have mostly bare pavement with icy spots. The freezing level is at 10,000 feet. Outlook for weekend travelers is icy/frosty spots with areas of fog on the Coast Range highways, frosty mornings and foggy in the Valley, and icy spots in the Cascade passes.

Cascades Snow Pack... 49”, no change since yesterday.

Cascadia: A magnitude 3.8 earthquake occurred shortly before 6:00am yesterday morning, 25 miles northeast of Gold Beach. It was felt in Grants Pass and Myrtle Point.

Marine: Winds and seas have moderated this morning with an ESE breeze of 10 knots and seas about 7 feet. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars are unrestricted. Not much change is expected through today. Winds going NE tonight, 5-10 knots, seas 6 feet. Tomorrow and tomorrow night, light easterlies with an 8 foot swell. Outlook is for changes beginning Monday when the first in a series of weather systems arrives bringing SE winds 10-15 knots gusting 20, seas 9 feet. Monday night through Thursday, continued southerly breeze 15-20 knots gusting 25, seas building to 11-12 feet. NOTE: Oregon Sea Grant is hosting several meetings to discuss the recent significant changes to commercial fishing vessel safety requirements. Two of these free sessions will be held in our area, at Englund Marine in Newport, March 5th and April 10th, 10:00am to Noon both days.

On the Beach... Sunny, lighter winds, surf 7-8 feet.
01/25 Sat 01:39 PM 1.14 L
01/25 Sat 08:07 PM 5.87 H
01/26 Sun 12:48 AM 3.53 L
01/26 Sun 07:22 AM 9.07 H

In Short: Mostly sunny, fading east wind, then cloudy with rain.

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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4:05 PM GMT on January 26, 2014
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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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