Wild winds and waves wow Northwest watchers

Waves wash over Grays Harbor Bar on the Washington coast. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Steven McDougal)

Thirty-foot waves swept over seas off the Pacific Northwest coast on Jan. 18, producing deadly awesomeness for onshore videos and presaging a wild weather weekend.

Northwest weather guru Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, explained in his blog that the waves were caused by a “HUGE, intense and slow-moving storm” over the northeast Pacific Ocean.

“I mean a stunningly big storm,” Mass added.

The National Weather Service reported waves as high as 33.5 feet on the afternoon of Jan. 18. That height, which is twice the norm, was recorded by a buoy off the coast of Washington near Grays Harbor.

The crashing waves made for a stormy display in videos captured by the Coast Guard as well as civilian wave-watchers.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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