On Thursday, Jan. 18, Cannon Beach, like the rest of the Oregon Coast, bared witness to extreme high tides that produced impressively large waves and even more impressive photo opportunities. Locals and visitors alike gathered at Tolovana State Park to watch as waves came as high as the parking lot, with debris and foam rushing to fill the beach access ramp. Thunder and lightning cracked behind Haystack Rock as weather alternated between torrential downpour and a light breeze. The Ecola beach access ramp had debris and silt as far up as the Wayfarer hotel parking lot. Waves crested over the top of the Tillamook Head Lighthouse.
According to the National Weather Service, offshore buoys recorded ocean swell heights of up to 36 feet Thursday morning. Wave heights were still cresting at 30 feet by the afternoon and continued to be high through Friday. The high tides made the beach unwalkable, and carried in 10-15 foot logs onto the shore as if they were twigs. No injuries or rescues were reported in Clatsop County. A man was swept out to sea during Thursday’s storm swells at Depoe Bay, and a group of women were rescued from the raucous waves by Cape Kiwanda.
The railing of stairs leading down to Haystack Rock off the “S curves” will need to be repaired after logs brought in by large waves crashed into the stairwell, said Public Works Director Jim Arndt. Other than, the city will work on clearing debris throughout town.