Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Big Port Orford storm

A big storm in Port Orford on Saturday made national news and, as usual, was somewhat overblown in the reports.  It was a very destructive event locally, but the wind and high waves did not cause an evacuation of the entire town.

The dolly dock and port area were evacuated for a time during the peak of the morning and early afternoon storm, but boat owners and port personnel were allowed back later to assess the damage and make repairs where possible.

The wind far exceeded forecast and, unfortunately, came during a very high tide.  I recorded a nearly 76 MPH gust on my hand held wind meter at a dock overlook downtown and peak winds of 93 MPH were seen at nearby Cape Blanco.

Hey, that's over hurricane strength!

The dock itself was overrun by nearly 30' waves on top of a 7.3' high tide.  Hallmark Fisheries at the end of the dock was washed into port waters and onto the nearby beach.  A 60' long section of the rock jetty was pretty much destroyed, the sewage pump and boat fuel systems were damaged, a good amount of dock equipment was washed away and Griff's On the Dock restaurant was badly damaged by the waves.  As a result, Curry County has made an emergency declaration request to the state.

Waves washing equipment from the dolly dock.  All sorts of debris ended up on Dock Beach.  The waterfalls on the right of the dock are from the waves washing up on the dock.  No boats were damaged.

Waves completely covered the rock jetty on the left of the dock.

Beach cleanup was well underway Sunday morning.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the storm, but the town itself was not entirely free from damage.  One wall was blown out of an old empty law office and a patio removed from an old closed cafe.  An RV park located about a quarter mile away from our park was heavily damaged by falling trees, which destroyed two older model RV's.  One of the rigs hit by falling trees burst into flames and ultimately destroyed by the explosion of an oxygen bottle kept inside for medical purposes.  We felt and heard the explosion in our rolling home...the dogs were fairly upset by that as you can imagine.

Trees blown over the roadway at Madrone 101 RV Park.

This old residential type trailer was completely destroyed by falling trees.

A wall was blown out of this old empty law office in downtown Port Orford.

Damage at our park was limited to a limb that fell on the car of one of the residents.  The limb was partially supported by a power line preventing serious damage to the car.

An alder tree branch fell over a car in our park but caused little damage.  Tim and Cindy made short work of the branch with a chainsaw.

Dangerous conditions prevented me from taking more photographs during the peak of the storm.  I made one early attempt at driving to the dock, but the high velocity rocks from a nearby cliff, high storm waves, intense wind and blowing debris deterred the effort.  A fair degree of caution trumps newsworthy photos any day in my book!

In contrast to Saturday, the next day dawned bright and clear along the coast.  During the morning hours we made a short tour of the town and port to watch the clean up already underway.  Except for the damaged RV park and port area, very little evidence of the powerful storm remained.

Sylvie, one of Juanita's Facebook friends, visited us Sunday afternoon with one of Luna's daughters from her second (and last) litter.  She arrived with her family and another pooch that they recently rescued.  Luna and her "puppy" Molly Brown played around for a bit in the park dog enclosure.   The rescue dog, Mike, played along as well, but Abbey had very little tolerance for the canine festivities and soon demanded to be removed from the enclosure.  What a stick in the mud!

A cluster of Beagles!  Molly Brown is in the foreground with Abbey to the right background and Luna on the left.

Mother and daughter Beagles having a nice family roll-in on the wet grass.

We have received just over 8" of badly needed rain during the past week and more is on the way this week.  Local rivers are beginning to run and hillside grass is turning green.  Hopefully, the long dry conditions have been replaced by a wet cycle.  Only time will tell.


  1. My goodness.... were Ham radio emergency nets going full boar??

    1. Rod...several of us were available if needed, but all communications stayed up during the storm despite a local power outage of several hours. If everything goes down, we can most certainly help out.