Storm Statement

The following is a release issued on Monday, Nov. 25, by Curry County Emergency Manager Jeremy Dumire, concerning the approaching storm system.

“This is a rapidly intensifying storm with damaging winds," Dumire said. Please take the necessary precautions.”

National Weather Service Warning

A strong storm is expected to develop over the eastern Pacific and reach the West Coast by Tuesday night. This low pressure system will likely undergo a “bombogenesis” (pressure drop of at least 24mb in 24 hours) from Monday night to Tuesday night, at which point it could become a 980mb low with hurricane force winds offshore.

It should reach land near the California/Oregon border early Tuesday night and then begin to gradually weaken as it moves inland. The mountains of southern Oregon and northern California are likely to get hammered with blizzard conditions, and battering surf and high winds for coastal areas. Winter storm watches and warnings are already in effect for many of these areas, and the cold nature of the event will result in lower than usual snow levels. Pre-Thanksgiving travel in this region could be severely affected, and local forecast offices have additional information pertaining to this.

*Meteorologists use a metric unit for pressure called a millibar (mb); the average pressure at sea level is 1013.25 millibars

Today will be a relatively lower impact day for weather. Then a rapidly deepening "bomb" cyclone will take aim for the Southern Oregon Coast on Tuesday. The main message today is to prepare today ahead of this storm. This low is unprecedented in its strength and track. Storms of this magnitude have not been observed on this track in the last 15 to 20 years or more.

The low is forecast to rapidly deepen 30mb in 12 hours as it approaches the Southern Oregon Coast on Tuesday. The low is forecast to become positioned off the Curry Coast Tuesday afternoon then move on shore Tuesday evening and inland over the area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Significant impacts are expected from heavy snow and high winds.

The location of the highest winds will largely depend on the exact track of the low. Small shifts in the track will make a difference in which areas see very strong winds. Overall, the majority of the models and ensembles are bringing a 970 to 975mb low into the Curry Coast on Tuesday. So there is high confidence in very strong winds occurring at the coast and inland over Siskiyou County and into Jackson and Josephine Counties as well as over the higher mountains. High wind warnings are in effect.

Coastal waters are expected see strong storm force winds with periods of hurricane force gusts. Strong storm force winds over the waters will initially be southerly then quickly switch to strong northerly winds behind the low Tuesday night. This will bring extremely steep and very dangerous seas to the coastal waters. Additionally high surf (please see the CFWMFR) is expect along all coastal areas of Southern Oregon.

Travel is strongly discouraged because of dangerous conditions. *If you must travel, keep tire chains a flashlight, blankets, food, water, medications and a fully charged phone with you. *The safest place during a storm is indoors. *A winter storm warning means that severe weather is likely and poses a threat to life and property. Take protective action now.

National Weather Service High Wind Warning

Areas affected include Curry County Coast, South Central Oregon and Northern California.

Potentially historic wind storm expected Tuesday afternoon and evening. A highly unusual, rapidly deepening Pacific storm system is expected to make landfall on the southern Oregon coast Tuesday evening. This change in surface low pressure could be potentially be one of the deepest recorded in recent memory, it will produce very strong winds across the region particularly at the coast, including Curry County, over the area ridgelines, and in the valleys of Josephine, Jackson, and Siskiyou counties.

What

South winds 35 to 55 mph with gusts up to 75 mph expected. Winds will shift to the north in the evening. Headlands and exposed areas could see gusts in excess of 100mph.

Where

South Central Oregon Coast and Curry County Coast, including Highway 101 and the cities of Brookings, Gold Beach, Port Orford, Bandon, Coos Bay, Myrtle Point and Coquille.

When

From 10 a.m. Tuesday thru 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Impacs

Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Unsecured outdoor objects may be blown away or damaged.

Precautions

People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during a windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.

The National Weather Service High Surf Advisory

A High Surf Advisory remains in effect from 1 a.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday for South Central Oregon Coast-Curry County Coast.

Historically strong storm arrives Tuesday. A historically strong low pressure system will bring rapidly rising waves Tuesday. Strong south winds will bring high surf to area beaches, especially south facing beaches like Port Orford and Brookings. Winds will shift to northerly Tuesday night.

Waves and Surf

Surf heights ranging from 24 feet north of Cape Blanco to near 35 feet south of Gold Beach

Impacts

High Surf will cause high wave run ups, storm surge of several feet, and potential beach erosion. Infrastructure at Port Orford and Brookings could see damage from the waves. Stay away from the ocean and any jetties during this event. Shock and hypothermia can occur quickly in the cold Pacific waters.

Precautionary/preparedness actions

A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion. Avoid going on rocks and jetties. Never turn your back on the ocean!

The Great Storms of Our Past

The Great Coastal Gale of 2007, as it is officially referred as, was the physical confluence of Typhoons Mitag and Hagibis that formed over the central Pacific Ocean. Once the remnants of the typhoons were caught up into the Pineapple Express Jetstream pattern that brings unseasonably warm weather storms to the Oregon Coast during the winter months, it was setting the circumstance that would make the history books on the Oregon Coast.

No epic windstorm of the area comes without an impressive amount of damage to go with it – and the Great Coastal Gale of 2007 was of no exception to this rule. Causing mudslides, washouts, sinkholes and erosion, the winds brought waves that pounded the shoreline with blow after blow, and sending long standing trees and their branches tumbling down to the ground.

On the morning of Friday, October 12, 1962—Columbus Day—a massive storm hit the coast of northern California. The storm had originated several days earlier in the Pacific Ocean, about five hundred miles north of Wake Island.

Re-energized by a combination of unusual meteorological conditions, the storm moved north with the gathering force of a Category 3 hurricane. Originally named Typhoon Freda by meteorologists and called the Big Blow by many, it may have been the most powerful extratropical cyclone ever to hit the western United States.

With barometric pressure plunging and with gusts at Cape Blanco's Coast Guard station measuring at over 145 miles per hour (some estimates put the wind speeds there at over 170 miles per hour), the havoc wreaked by the Columbus Day Storm extended from the northernmost California coast to southern British Columbia.

References

LaLande, J. (2019). Columbus Day Storm (1962). [online] Oregonencyclopedia.org. Available at: https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/columbus_day_storm_1962_/#.Xdw1vYNKhEY [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].

The North Coast Citizen. (2019). Remembering ‘The Great Coastal Gale of 2007,’ a decade down the road - The North Coast Citizen. [online] Available at: https://www.northcoastcitizen.com/2017/12/remembering-the-great-coastal-gale-of-2007-a- decade-down-the-road/ [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].

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