Coast Guard urges mariners to prepare for series of incoming Pacific Northwest storms
SEATTLE — Coast Guard 13th District personnel are preparing for a series of coastal storms expected to impact the Washington and Oregon Coastal areas starting late Wednesday night.
Storm-force wind gusts of up to 60-75 mph are expected along the coast with sea swells reaching up to 30 feet.
Rain will arrive Wednesday night and push inland, resulting in the strongest storm of the season that will last from Thursday into Saturday.
The marine warning, issued by the National Weather Service office in Portland for the waters 10 to 60 nautical miles between Cape Shoalwater, Washington and Florence, Oregon suggests "life threatening seas and strong winds increasingly likely later this week."
“While the forecast for the coast includes high sea swells and strong winds, mariners should be aware that the inshore waters will also see very hazardous conditions with the southerly winds,” said Michael Allen, a search and rescue watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. “All mariners, including kite-boarders and windsurfers, are urged to seek the latest weather forecast before making a decision to be on the water, and to be aware of their vessel's, and their own, limitations.”
Winds on inshore waters are uncertain and dependent on the storm’s track but are expected to reach 30 knots with combined seas of 19-22 feet.
The Coast Guard also reminds owners of small boats, kayaks, and other paddle craft to properly secure them, as well as any loose life jackets, paddles, or buoys. When coastal storms slam the area the Coast Guard often gets many calls about adrift vessels and this diverts time, assets, and crews to search for what is often unmanned vessels or gear swept out to sea during the storm. These false alarms have the potential to tie up resources and distract responders away from actual emergencies.
Cmdr. Michele Schallip, chief of the Waterways Prevention Management Branch, 13th Coast Guard District, urges the public to navigate the waterways with extra caution immediately following any significant natural event, such as a storm, due to possible loose debris in the water. Mariners are also encouraged to report any aids to navigation that appear to be off station or not displaying the correct signals to their nearest Coast Guard Station.
Boaters are urged to pay attention to river bar conditions before setting out. Due to the incoming storm, high seas and debris are predicted throughout the next few days. Vessel traffic restrictions may be implemented and are subject to change.
For updated river entrance observations and conditions, visit: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/marine/bars_mover.php