LONG BEACH — An enormous cold-water cyclone has developed offshore Tuesday and is generating significant ocean swells. Rough seas are expected to move closer to the mouth of the Columbia over the next 24 hours.
Until it passes and conditions subside, this will make for dangerous conditions for any crabbers who choose to put to sea or remain there.
"A huge, deep mid-latitude cyclone is parked off our coast right now, with very strong winds over the Pacific and large easterly flow in the Columbia Gorge, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and within east-west passes in the Cascades," University of Washington Prof. Cliff Mass wrote Tuesday afternoon in his popular online blog. "The sea level pressure forecast for 1 p.m. is impressive and huge, with the low center spread over much of the NE Pacific, with a deep 974 hPa low center due west of the CA/OR border."
The storm will drift slowly toward the region of the Columbia River entrance overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, bringing strong winds, Mass said. This "huge, slow-moving storm has strong winds, lots of fetch, and plenty of time for the wind to work on the water." Far offshore near its center, NOAA predicts swells up to 9 to 11 meters (29 to 36 feet). Locally, swells in the vicinity of 20 feet are predicted.
A gale warning is in effect for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday for ocean waters and Willapa Bay. The National Weather Service in Portland predicts relatively modest wind gusts to about 40 knots (46 mph) in our area Wednesday. There is no wind warning in effect at this time for land areas.