High winds in forecast for Willamette Valley; dangerous surf and wind on Oregon Coast

National Weather Service: "Very high seas and dangerous surf will impact the coast and marine waters through Saturday. 20 to 25 foot breakers are expected at the peak of this event with waves possible in south facing beach parking lots. In addition, sneaker waves will be possible, especially on Sunday. Stay off jetties, logs, and rocks. Never turn your back to the ocean. If you are swept into the ocean, you only have 10 minutes in 50 degree water before your legs, arms, and hands are unable to make any meaningful movements."

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EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon Coast and Western Oregon face high winds and dangerous surf this weekend.

In the mountains, the wind and rain prompted Mt. Ashland ski area to close to "preserve the snowpack on the mountain for a better weekend." The ski are plans to be open through April on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

"Two storm systems will arrive back to back and bring periods of heavy rain to southern Oregon and northern California over the next several days," forecasters said. "Snow levels will quickly rise to about 8000 feet early on Thursday and will linger there through Saturday before falling to around 5000 feet. This heavy rain will create the possibility for land slides and debris flows, rapid river rises and urban and small stream flooding."

On the coast, the storm could deliver potentially life-threatening conditions. | What are 'sneaker waves'?

"Waves will run up much higher on the beaches than normal," the National Weather Service in Medford said Friday. "These waves will be powerful and can sweep people off jetties and other exposed rocks. They can also easily move large logs and other beach debris. Bar crossings and the surf zone will be dangerous due to strong currents and breaking waves."

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A High Surf Advisory is in effect 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

"Breakers up to 25 feet are expected," forecasters cautioned. "The highest breaker heights are expected Saturday morning through Saturday evening."

The waves are part of a series of fronts moving on shore this weekend that are also forecast to blast the region with wind.

A High Wind Warning for the coast begins late Friday night and continues until 5 p.m. Saturday. The forecast calls for south to southwest winds of 30 to 45 mph with gusts of 55 to 65 mph, with higher gusts along the headlands like Cape Blanco. The strongest winds are expected between 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

For the southern Willamette Valley and the Cascade Foothills, a High Wind Watch was upgraded Friday to a High Wind Warning, in effect 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Winds out of th south of 25 to 35 mph with gusts 45 to 55 mph are expected.

"A High Wind Warning means hazardous weather conditions of strong and damaging winds are imminent or highly likely in the warning area," forecasters said. "These strong winds will be capable of breaking tree limbs, which could affect power lines. Additionally, periods of heavy rainfall combining with strong winds tonight are likely to result in visibilities less than a half a mile, at times, and the potential of localized heavy run-off and resultant debris on roadways."

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