Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weird Mix of Weather After Oregon Coast Storm, More Warnings

Flooding just south of Seaside is expected to subside by Wednesday morning.

(Oregon Coast) - Monday's storm unloaded plenty of statistics on the Oregon coast, but it left a strange set of conditions afterwards to spectacular results of varying degrees. The central coast reported a beautiful sunset Tuesday afternoon, while the north coast saw everything from a downpour of rain, a sky thick with stars, and then even thunder and lightning.

Meanwhile, another storm system is poised to bring a smaller volley of wind gusts Wednesday to the coast, and a wind watch has been changed to a wind warning.
After raining most of the day Tuesday, the skies around Manzanita became unusually clear, revealing a sea of stars above the raging ocean about 8 p.m. Then, perhaps and hour later, thunder rolled through the area, as massive flashes of lightning could be seen in the east and north periodically.

All kinds of damage was reported on the north coast during the storm, from Astoria down to at least Oceanside, but the central coast seemed to be spared any destruction or too much excitement. Gusts of around 90 to 95 mph were reported in places like Cape Foulweather near Depoe Bay, Garibaldi and Waldport.

But on the north coast, flooding stranded motorists coming to and from Seaside, trees were knocked down and the roof of the old courthouse in Seaside was torn off and strewn around the street.

During the storm, electricity went out in several places in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties periodically throughout the day, but over 2,700 people were without power for almost 24 hours in Cannon Beach.

Power came back on around 3 p.m. Tuesday to most in town, but that didn’t save shops and restaurants from being closed the whole day. As of 6 p.m., only a handful of businesses were open, including two restaurants and one store.

A sign on the Lumberyard Restaurant told the story of all but two Cannon Beach eateries that day: “Closed due to power outage.”

As of 5:30 p.m., the road just south of Seaside was still substantially flooded, although most cars were able to get through. ODOT workers at the scene said the water had gone down eight inches on Tuesday, and they expected it to be clear by morning.
The Sea Horse Motel in Lincoln City reported occasional big gusts around 11 p.m. Monday night, but otherwise it was a “typical storm,” they said. There have so far been no reports of flooding on the central coast.

Angi Wildt, with Depoe Bay Winery, reveled in the madness.
“Last night I went for a walk at Beverly Beach,” Wildt said. “There was a layer of sand blowing above the wet sand and it was fun and invigorating to lean my back into the wind and have it hold me up. We've enjoyed blue skies today and the sunset is beautiful.”

Sarah MacDonald, who owns Sea Sweet Vacation Rentals in Oceanside, said she missed most of it, as she was flying home from Maui.

“It was pretty darn rocky,” she said. “Came home over the Wilson River Highway and thought: ‘What the heck hit the coast?’ Debris everywhere. Got home, woke up this morning and checked the rentals, and the neighbors had siding blown off. The wind must have hit pretty darn hard. I guess we were in the last of it, but it was over by the time we arrived home.”

In Pacific City, Kiwanda Coastal Properties owner Nicole Twigg noticed something odd during the windy melee.

“I really wish I would have taken a picture of my neighbor washing his car yesterday in full rain gear when the wind was really starting to pick up,” she said. “Of all days, he was thinking he’d better get out there and wash it.”
Garibaldi saw gusts around 90 mph on Monday night.

But the fun isn’t over for the north coast.
The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued a high wind for Wednesday, as another system of storms is expected to kick in. That was changed to a wind warning, and extended from Wednesday through to early Thursday.

“The first in a series of storms will begin to affect the south Washington coast and north Oregon coast on Wednesday afternoon,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “Winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph will begin to affect the coast by mid afternoon. Winds will then increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph in the evening.”
The NWS said they expect winds to continue on into Thursday.

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