Share:

Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast

10.14.16

Start Exploring
Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast

Share:

Advertisement
  • Tongue Point and Crescent Bay.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Sunset at Tongue Point and Crescent Bay.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Overlooking Crescent Bay from Salt Creek Recreation Area Bluff Trail.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • A view into the bay from one of Cape Flattery's observation decks.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View south from La Push, First Beach, toward the Quillayute Needles.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View south from La Push, First Beach, toward Quateata headland and Crying Lady Rock beyond.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View toward Crying Lady Rock and the Quillayute Needles from La Push, Second Beach.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • La Push, Second Beach panoramic view.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View of Sea Lion Rocks in Ecola State Park. - Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View looking out into the Pacific Ocean from Ecola State Park's southern day-use area.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • "Terrible Tilly" is a mile offshore from Tillamook Head.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • View looking south toward Cannon Beach from the Clastsop Loop on Tillamook Head.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Tillamook Head Lighthouse in the distance.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Devil's Punchbowl.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Cape Cove Beach.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Cape Cove Beach.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Thor's Well at Cooks Chasm.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Contributors Shane Kucera and Tyson Gillard at Thor's Well about to get wet.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Shore Acres State Park.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Sunlight through sea spray at College Cove Beach.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Point Reyes Lighthouse.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Point Bonita Lighthouse.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Point Bonita, the southernmost point in Marin.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Big wave day at Mavericks.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
  • Lighthouse at Pigeon Point.- Stormwatch Outposts Across the West Coast
Article
Team

There's nothing quite like a gigantic low pressure system blowing in off of the Pacific to generate powerful gusts, plenty of precipitation, and pounding hydraulics along the coast. Colder air rushing in off of the ocean can whip up gigantic waves along the surface and displace the warmer air along the coast, pressing it up until it condenses into clouds and rain. For some, fronts like this present the opportunity to hunker down and catch up on some work, reading, or indoor recreation while waiting out the storm. And while there's nothing wrong with that, we're fans of a different approach: try getting out in it for a bit to catch some truly natural special effects! If you think of these storms as contests between cold and warm fronts, the confrontations can be thrilling to watch as they unfold, especially if you're smart about your preparation and have selected a choice spot. 

In terms of readying yourself, the best first step is to remember that underestimating the strength of storm effects can be lethal. High winds, torrential rains, and gigantic surf all need to be taken seriously. Especially when surf is involved, safe observation points must be selected and reasonable distances must be observed; don't be one of the folks who, in the thrill of the moment, gets a little too close to the next big wave. Every location is different, and some spots may allow for more proximity than others. Still, the important thing is to stick to your spot and enjoy the show. You'll want good boots and rain gear to keep yourself sealed up...forget the umbrellas in high winds.

If you're shooting photos, think hard about your location beforehand to select your lens. You'll want to keep your lens changes to a minimum given the salt and moisture in the environment. If you can safely approach a scene, go wide and prepare to get wet; if the spot is more dangerous to approach, be sure to grab a telephoto to cover the safe distance and yield those up-close results. A water repellant shell for your camera is highly recommended, both for the ocean spray and for the rain; these can be purchased or made at home with a little ingenuity and some plastic bags (just cut out a hole for your lens and viewfinder and shoot with your camera and hands in the bag).

As for selecting a location, we've put together a list of 75 great spots to consider depending on the character and direction of the storm front. The links below are just the beginning; have a look at the featured adventures for a more complete set of suggestions. Of course, as with any dynamic process, weather is pretty tough to predict; a headland that gets pounded one week may see light surf through the next storm. Keep an eye on local forecasts and watch the radar to learn a little more about your local weather behavior. And don't forget to share your best shots in the comments sections for each adventure. Have fun and stay safe!

Big waves in Depoe Bay. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Washington

Oregon

California

Advertisement
Comments

Comments

Published By

Published by

Team
368 Adventures Explored
344 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info