Friday, December 12, 2008

December 12: Gearing up for a storm in Astoria

There was a storm in the making out over the Columbia and beyond to the north. The day started with rain, and the waves were higher than usual. It almost looks like the ocean, but remember - the Columbia is only a river. Here in Astoria, we're about 10 miles from the ocean.

Dark skies to the north make this ship stand out dramatically.

Here's a pic of the same ship with the pilot boat alongside. I left the original large. If you click on the photo, you can see the pilot climbing up the ladder and people on board waiting for him.

The background as the stern went by was even more dramatic than the first picture.

Here the sun popped through for awhile and warmed up the lighting. The waves seem to have gone down a bit also.

Yes, this is the same day a little bit later. These waves again look like they belong in the ocean. I was informed by one of the pilots that our storms normally come from the oceans to the south of us, which doesn't give the waves a chance to build on our side of the river. This storm was coming from the ocean to the north, across the water. The river is about four miles wide here, so allowing for the angle, that's maybe six miles or so that the wind has build the swells before the waves reach us. They're not huge - they're nothing to worry about - it's just unusual and it makes a lot of noise when they strike the pilings.

High waves at high tide on the other side of the old Englund Marine building. One car, just out of the picture on the right, was getting a bath.

The underside of the River Pilots' building on our east side wasn't that much above high water, either. We had a 10.6 high tide today, which may have been the high for the year. Tomorrow or yesterday had one equally high. Barbara and I had both noticed how high they were just looking at them, and later I checked the tide book.

To our left is the other River Pilots' building. Here a door to the "basement" (well, not really, it's just the screened area under the building) was knocked off by the bigger-than-usual waves. By the time I alerted someone and we tried to snag it with the pike pole, it was too late. It washed out pretty fast.

Just another shot of the river - a boat on the choppy water, dark skies beyond.

Later in the day Lee and I drove across the Youngs Bay Bridge to Fred Meyers. I couldn't quite catch the beam of light coming down through the hole in the clouds. Drizzly day.

This is a shot from the other side of the bridge. Again, it's taken from the car and isn't too great, but I like the colors and muted feeling of the sloughs here.

And we returned through Hammond or Warrenton back toward the bridge - the decorations are trying to be cheerful. I like the lights against the soggy sky, but it doesn't come through quite the way it looks in real life.

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