Wind, rain, and waves batter Oregon coast: 'We tell people to stay off the beaches'

Logs in beach access parking lot in Lincoln City on December 17, 2018 - Photo from Keaton Thomas.

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. – Wind, waves, and rain began pounding the Oregon coast Monday and things are expected to get worse Monday night.

Officials closed the parking lot at D River Beach Wayside because water and heavy logs could crash over the sea wall and onto cars. Stairs to the beach were roped off with caution tape all day.

High surf pushed a handful or large logs onto a handicap ramp near the parking lot Sunday night.

Jim Kusz, public information officers with North Lincoln Fire and Rescue, said these storms can be dangerous and deadly. Sneaker waves have killed several people along the coast in recent years. Buildings have sustained damage, thanks to the pounding surf.

“We tell people to stay off the beaches, they're awesome to look at, awesome to watch, but view them from a safe area,” Kusz said.

Kusz is expecting downed power lines and downed trees overnight. He says everyone on the coast should be prepared for a possible outage, or localized flooding.

In January, several ground-floor condos at Sea Gypsy Rentals were damaged by a large wave that crashed over the sea wall.

David Nelson, the owner of one of those condos, said spread through the first six feet of their apartment. They had to replace the flooring and walls. It took about a month to finish all the repairs. He says he is watching Monday’s storm closely.

“Just cross the fingers, hope it's fun to watch, and hope it doesn't happen again,” said Nelson.

The manager for the condos, Kimberly Hitchcock, says they are prepared should things get bad overnight. She says it took three or four months before all the units were completely fixed after last winter’s storm.

“You get that little bit of uneasiness, especially since we went through what we went through in January. The main thing is we try to stay away from the hysteria part of it, though. Living on the Oregon coast, this is Oregon coast winter,” said Hitchcock about Monday’s storm.

Despite the warnings, KATU News still found people on the beaches Monday.

Doug Miller was using his metal detector to look for treasures. When asked why he was on the beach, Miller said, “I come out after the big storms and during the big storms just because people aren't here, all the light sand is gone, and I'm finding more objects.”

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