Surf, rain, wind set to pound coastline

PHOTO BY SHELBY WOLFE/Newport News-Times | Storm surf will continue to build on Friday, creating hazardous shoreline conditions.

NEWPORT — The first monster surf of the season is rolling onto the central Oregon coast, prompting warnings from weather officials of waves scouring the beach in the 25 to 30-foot range on Friday.

Right on top of the swell, high winds are expected and behind that, drenching rain.

A series of storms moving into the area will drive gales and episodes of towering surf well into next week. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Portland are urging caution on the beach and say they are not yet able to quantify how extreme conditions may become over the weekend.

Storm force wind gusts exceeding 60 mph are expected Friday morning out of the south.. Forecasters say an “atmospheric river” could dump up to five inches of rain in the region late Monday and Tuesday. But they’re not yet certain of the final landfall or intensity of these weather systems, according to a hydrologic outlook which pegs the heaviest rainfall in the Willapa Hills, the North Oregon Coast Range and the west slopes of the Cascades.

The swells are an opportunity to experience the awe of nature, but are extremely destructive. Waves will reach higher on the shore than they have in a long time, potentially surprising and trapping onlookers. Waves will sweep over jetties and exposed rocks.

Extreme caution should be taken in hiking along beaches between the surf and cliffs, as the sheer faces of the cliffs offer little avenue for escape from the waves.

Remember, if the sand has foam on it, waves probably washed through there recently and could do so again suddenly and unexpectedly. The swells typically inundate a beach, then recede for awhile before charging shoreward again.

The action of the powerful northwest swell will cause erosion of the sand and possibly shoreline cliffs, and logs and other debris in the surf can be hurled onto the shore.

Visitors to the shoreline should never turn their back on the water and always be aware of their surroundings and whether they have an escape route to higher ground.

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