Winds, high surf today; Highway 30 closed at Clatskanie

Waves crash along the South Jetty at Fort Stevens State Park Thursday.

JUST IN: Oregon Department of Transportation says that U.S. Highway 30 is closed because of a downed tree at milepost 57.5 in Clatskanie. There are power lines down, too, and it is unknown how long the highway will be closed.

THE BASICS: The National Weather Service has issued a high-wind warning is now in effect from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. today for the South Washington and North Oregon coasts and the Coast Range.

A hurricane-force wind warning is in effect for offshore waters from Long Beach, Wash., until 7 tonight.

Winds becoming south 40 to 50 kt with gusts to 65 kt by early afternoon. Gusts around 70 kt (81 mph) are possible within 30 nautical miles of shore. This includes Willapa Bay and the ocean to the west of Pacific, Wash., and Clatsop counties.

By late evening winds will be subsiding to 25 to 35 kt with gusts to 45 kt.

Seas will rapidly increase to between 25 and 30 feet as winds increase today.

A hurricane-force wind warning means winds of 64 knots or greater are imminent or occurring. All vessels should remain in port, or take shelter as soon as possible until winds and waves subside.

Winds: southerly wind gusts of 70 to 75 mph, except 75 to 85 mph over the higher coast range terrain, beaches and headlands.

Timing: winds will rapidly increase during the early afternoon.

The strongest winds are expected during the late afternoon and early evening.

The Oregon Department of Transportation IS NOT closing the Astoria-Megler because of the predicted wind storm on the Oregon Coast this afternoon. ODOT does not close the bridge due to weather. The only time ODOT will close the bridge is for an accident or obstruction that needs to be cleared.

As is always the case, motorists should drive carefully in all weather conditions and adjust their driving behavior based on the condition of the roadway.

• Clatsop Community College closed at 3 p.m.

• Lewis and Clark National Historic Park is closed at noon today because of the predicted storm.

• Gearhart Planning Commission meeting canceled.

• Ocean Beach (Wash.) School District: All campuses closed today.

• Neah-Kah-Nie School District: Due to the predicted wind event, Neah-Kah-Nie School District will operated on a districtwide early release schedule today. There will be no preschool.

• Tillamook School District: Afternoon and evening activities canceled. All students will ride first bus run. No second run today.

• Ocosta (Wash.) School District: The Ocosta School District will be closing at 12:30 today and students sent home. The following are cancelled: After-school programs, all sports activities, senior luncheon and evening concert.

A high surf advisory remains in effect until 10 p.m.

Waves and surf: seas offshore will build quickly late this morning and afternoon. The large waves will produce hazardous surf conditions with breakers expected around 25 feet this afternoon and evening.

Impacts: exercise extreme caution along beaches. Unpredictable and destructive waves may wash over beaches, jetties and other structures with no warning.

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.

High winds are blowing into the Northwest, so Pacific Power reminds its customers and the public to take precautions to stay safe and comfortable.

Every home should have an Emergency Outage Kit that includes the following:

• Flashlight

• Battery-operated radio and clock

• Extra batteries

• Non-perishable foods

• Manual can opener

• Bottled water

• Blankets

If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check their fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.

To ease the inconvenience of power outages and assist crews in restoring power, Pacific Power suggests the following tips and safety precautions:

• Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.

• Call 911 and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.

• Candles should never be left unattended or used for extended periods. Use a flashlight or other battery-powered lighting source.

• Use a fireplace or wood stove to keep warm. Pay careful attention to fire hazards.

• Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don’t use charcoal in your house or garage.

• Never use a barbecue grill indoors. Cook over sterno cans.

• Don’t drive over downed power lines.

• Turn on your porch light switch. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

• As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers--they will keep food and perishables inside cold for some time if not opened.

• Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.

• Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.

• Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won’t freeze and crack the pipes.

• Generators should be outside or in a well ventilated unoccupied space.

• Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don’t connect a generator directly to your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous back feed hazard for line crews.

Pacific Power also thanks customers in advance for their patience during power outages. Our crews make every effort to keep outage durations to a minimum and to restore power safely and quickly.

This season, customers and media representatives can also track larger scale outages online. Outages affecting more than 500 customers are posted on the Pacific Power website as soon as information is available. Updates will be made as new information becomes available or at least hourly at www.pacificpower.net/outage.

The Oregon Department of Transportation cautions motorists to expect some of the worst from Mother Nature today. Forecasters are predicting a strong storm that will likely contain high winds and rain which may create driving problems for area motorists in the Portland metro area, along the Oregon Coast, in the Willamette Valley and at the higher elevations of the Coast Range and Cascades.

Motorists should be prepared for high winds that will cause debris and downed trees on area highways. Additional rains could also cause high water and some localized flooding. Drivers should slow down, allow more time to get where they’re going and allow for plenty of distance between cars.

Here are some tips:

• If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.

• High winds may also bring down trees and power lines. Motorists should be alert to changing driving conditions and plan on delays due to down trees or power lines.

• Beware of high water. Speeding through high water can mean losing control of the car and water can cause loss of function to your vehicle’s brakes and power steering.

• Leaves and debris on the road will mean slick streets. ODOT crews have been clearing leaves and debris from the roadway, ditches and drains, but high winds could bring even more debris down from the trees and that will mean more standing water, slick streets and less traction.

• Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in heavy rain and windy conditions. Visit www.tripcheck.com or dial 511 for the latest information travel conditions and road closures.

For the latest road conditions, visit www.tripcheck.com

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