On February 23, 2023 Oceanside received 11.5” of snow in just over 12 hours. This was the highest recorded snow total in the area since 1940 and was actually the third highest total in all of NW Oregon that day! The forecast the night prior was for a trace to two inches—So close!  At sunrise we had six inches and by 11am we were up to 11.5”. It was almost as if the storm was stuck over Tillamook County. Schools and businesses shut down in the area as many roads were completely impassable. We were kind of stuck that morning, but I knew we had to get to the beach to see this once in a lifetime moment. 

With very little convincing my son agreed we had to get down there, so we put on our winter gear and headed for the shoreline on foot. It was a VERY enjoyable walk. It snowed lightly part of the way with temps in the upper 20’s and the East wind blowing, but the snow was light and fluffy, which was good for walking. It was quite shocking though just how deep it was when you stepped down! The whole experience was surreal and felt like we were in another world. On our way there you could hear branches and trees breaking in the distance due to the weight of the snow, though we managed not to lose power in Oceanside that day.

Once we arrived to the beach we were amazed by just how white the landscape was and the sun had come out creating a scene almost too pretty for words! It’s not often you see snow on the sand in Oregon and also covering the Three Arch Rocks! The sand had at least 6” of snow on it right up to the the water where the incoming tide was slowly changing it to slush and creating the most beautiful icy, scalloped edge.

We encountered just one other person during our walk on the beach and exchanged a cheerful hello. My son also made a snow angel before we headed back home to warm up by the fire! Something interesting about this snow event is it didn’t melt off right away as it usually does on the coast. We also managed to get a few more inches a couple of days later. Side roads in town and some of Hwy 101 remained treacherous for many days as temperatures struggled to get above freezing. As much as seven days later we still had patches of snow in shady spots! Unheard of around here! The cold did eventually start to let up and in true Tillamook County fashion, farmers and others with big equipment stepped in to help out local schools and organizations with large parking lots to clear out the remaining ice and snow so people could safely drop off kids to school and make it in to church and work. I don’t know how long we will have to wait to witness this something like this again (some may hope it never returns), but this was very memorable for me and is a day that I won’t soon forget!

Blog contributed by Wendy Stevens Mizee

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