EUGENE, Ore. - Western Oregon can expect wind and rain Monday afternoon and overnight into Tuesday as an atmospheric river event takes aim at the Pacific Northwest.
"Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics," according to the National Weather Service. "When the atmospheric rivers make landfall, they often release this water vapor in the form of rain or snow."
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A High Wind Warning is in effect for the Oregon Coast from noon Monday to noon Tuesday.
"South wind 30 to 45 mph with gusts up to 70 mph for coastal communities such as Lincoln City, Newport, Yachats and Florence," forecasters said.
The strongest winds are expected between 6 p.m. Monday and 6 a.m. Tuesday.
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Forecasts have also issued a High Surf Warning, in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.
"Surf will increase this evening with breakers of 28 to 38 feet. Stay out of the surf zone. The long period swell will maintain a high danger of sneaker waves. Stay off the beach and nearby rocks," forecasters cautioned. "Do not walk or climb on jetties, rocks or low coastal cliffs as it will be extremely hazardous. Stay out of the surf zone, especially this afternoon through Tuesday. Large drift logs and other floating debris could be hidden in the surf zone, and could be tossed onto the beach or rocks with little if any warning. Significant erosion of sand and dunes can be expected."
Farther inland, Eugene and the Willamette Valley are under a Wind Advisory from 4 p.m. Monday to noon Tuesday.
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"A Wind Advisory is issued when sustained winds are forecast to be 31 to 39 mph or gusts will range between 45 and 57 mph," forecasters said. "Winds of these magnitudes may cause minor property damage without extra precautions. Motorists in high profile vehicles should use caution until the winds subside."
The projected rainfall from the storms prompted forecasters to issue a Flood Watch for Northwest Oregon, in particular the Coast Range and the central Willamette Valley north.
"Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected for the coast, Willapa Hills, Coast Range, Cascades, and Cascade foothills. Meanwhile, 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain are expected across the inland valleys, forecasters said.
The storm might speed up and move through Lane County fast enough to avoid flood concerns, forecasters noted.
"Models continue to suggest that the frontal zone and band of heaviest rainfall will accelerate while moving southward across Benton, Marion, Linn, and Lane Counties, mitigating the flood threat somewhat for our more southern rivers," forecasters said.