March 13, 2012
Historic March Snowstorm Along Oregon Coastline
Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke Tuesday morning to no power, downed trees, closed roads and as much as 8" of snow in a rare one-two punch. This storm will likely go down in the record books as one of the largest coastal snowstorms in the month of March ever recorded at some locations. Records date back to the late 1800's along the Oregon coast. The last coastal snowstorm of this size in the month of March was in 1951 when between 4" and 8" inches of snow fell. What is even more rare about this storm is the fact that within 12 hours bewildered coastal residents went from 50 degrees with hurricane force wind gusts to 32 degrees and 6" of snow. All of this taking place just a week before the official start of spring.
A strong Pacific storm raced ashore Monday morning bringing wind gusts to nearly 90 mph along the Oregon coast line. By sunset Monday, near record setting snows were falling along nearly the entire coastline of Oregon including the the shoreline beaches. Areas that were hit especially hard included Pacific City, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport and Florence, Oregon. This area spans about 100 miles. Hwy 101 near Cape Foulweather (just north of Newport, OR) was closed in both directions due to downed trees and stranded cars as snow fell on freshly fallen timber overnight. Here is a look at the snow totals as of Tuesday morning. Special thanks to the Portland office of the National Weather Service for this information ---