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11/30/2007

Major storm expected Sunday

Coos-Bay, Oregon
An UNUSUALLY STRONG high wind and seas event is forecast to develop along the Oregon Coast Sunday and Monday. This storm will coincide with the early days of crab season, posing a significant and dangerous impact to mariners,” and will bring with it 30-plus-foot seas. It’s no Pineapple Express, the kind that brings warm southerly winds after gathering energy in the tropics. It’s no pure Arctic blow coming down from the north, either. This storm could be considered more like a combination of the two. Two National Weather Service computer models showed a low-pressure system developing about 1,000 miles offshore on Wednesday that could bring storm-force winds of more than 55 mph and 32-foot combined seas to the coast on Sunday and Monday. It likely will track north and cross Canada. Usually, a storm prediction of that magnitude more than five days out still has some uncertainty attached to it, but this one seems especially strong for at least two reasons: computer model agreement and its low — really low — pressure. One computer model showed the system measuring 946 millibars of atmospheric pressure and another model showed it at 949 millibars. “That is EXTREMELY UNUSUAL.” High-pressure systems that bring fair weather usually measure about 1,000 millibars. The computer models differ on the speed and specific track of the storm, but its expected impact at a time when the West Coast crab fleet will be at sea has forecasters on alert. Because the system is developing so far offshore, it likely will have an occluded front — so the air won’t be that cold, but it won’t be that warm, either. Before the ocean swells hit, southerly winds will pick up and continue through the weekend, but eventually, there is the potential for a large northwest swell combined with southwest winds over some of the ocean waters. “That’s ugly.” “Gusts of 60 to 80 mph along the coast are possible with even higher gusts along the coastal headlands. Dangerous seas of 25 to 35 feet are forecast to develop. Details are not certain this early, but confidence is high that a significant event will occur. Mariners and residents along the south Oregon Coast are advised to stay informed of this developing storm.”
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