Lincoln County lies along the middle part of theOregon Coast. It is wholly within Climate Division 1 (Oregon Coast) established by the National Climatic Data Center. Below is a description of the climate of Division 1 followed by specific descriptions of Lincoln County. Climate tables for various parameters, as observed at long-term climate stations in Lincoln County, are included below.
Climate Division 1 — Oregon Coast
Stretching along Oregon's Pacific border, the coastal zone is characterized by wet winters, relatively dry summers, and mild temperatures throughout the year. Coastal terrain features include a coastal plain (extending from less than a mile to a few tens of miles in width), numerous coastal valleys, and the Coast Range, whose peaks range from 2,000 to 5,500 feet above sea level and extend down the full length of the state. Rivers such as the Coquille, Umpqua, and Yaquina dissect the Coast Range and drain its slopes. The area's heavy precipitation results from moist air masses moving off the Pacific Ocean onto land, especially during winter months. The abundant moisture supports lush pastures for dairy and animal production as well as valley crops of grass seed, flower bulbs, nuts, and fruit.
Along the lower elevations of the immediate coast, normal annual precipitation is between 65 to 90 inches. However, spots high on the west slopes of the range may get up to 200 inches. Several days of abundant rainfall can cause strong flood events. In some locations, flood control dams have greatly reduced the incidence of damaging floods. As is typical of western Oregon, the highest monthly precipitation values for the coast occur in the winter months of November, December, and January. Table 1 is a summary of mean monthly and annual precipitation for recording stations in the coastal zone. Figure 1 shows NOAA climate stations in Zone 1, which were in operation during the 1961-1990 period. Figure 2 shows the Lincoln County region from the Oregon annual precipitation map. Table 2a and 2b list the average number of days with precipitation amounts exceeding certain thresholds.
Snowfall' in tcoastal vicinity is minimal, usually only one to three inches. Some of the higher elevations receive significant amounts of snowfall, however. For example, in January of 1982, Laurel Mountain (elevation 3,589') received 55 inches of snow. At Mary's Peak (elevation 4,097'), the highest peak in the Coast Range, snow often lasts into May. Table 4 lists average monthly and annual snowfall totals for various stations.
The months of July, August, and September tend to be the warmest, but average summer temperatures are only about 15 degrees above the coldest month, January.
Table 3 lists normal monthly temperature at stations in the area. Average heating and cooling degree days (base 65 deg F) are lower for the coastal region than any other Oregon region as a result of the mild temperatures.
Extremely high or low temperatures are rare, and the annual temperature range is lower than any other Oregon climate zone. Temperatures of 90 deg F or above occur, on the average, less than once per year, and freezing temperatures are infrequent. Newport, for example, records temperatures of 32 deg F or below an average of 30 times per year. Killing frosts are even less frequent. Most of the area averages more than 300 days between the last occurrence (in spring) and the first occurrence (in fall) of 28 deg F temperatures. Table 5 and 6 list median frost dates and mean growing seasons, respectively, for four different temperature thresholds.
Occasional strong winds strike the Oregon Coast, usually in advance of winter storms. Wind speeds can exceed hurricane force, and in rare cases have caused significant damage to structures or vegetation. Damage is most likely at exposed coastal locations, but it may extend into inland valleys as well. Such events are typically short-lived, lasting less than one day.
Skies are likely to be cloudy during winter, and only partly cloudy during summer. At Astoria, average winter cloud cover is over 80 percent, dropping only to about 65 percent in summer. Summer cloud cover is due mostly to fog and low clouds. As a result of the persistent cloudiness, total solar radiation is lower here than in any other part of the state.
Established: Feb. 20, 1893
With miles of beach and coastline, and many beautiful and interesting places to visit, Lincoln County is one of the most popular visitor destinations on the Oregon Coast. Named for President Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln County was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1893. Lincoln County has a very temperate climate, and a short but productive growing season. Lincoln County has seven unique incorporated communities: Depoe Bay, Lincoln City, Newport, Siletz, Toledo, Waldport, and Yachats. Depoe Bay is known as "the whale watching capital of the world;" Lincoln City offers more than 2,000 hotel/motel/bed and breakfast rooms, and resorts as well as the Siletz Tribe's Chinook Winds Casino; Newport, known as Oregon's oceanography research center, features numerous interpretive centers and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, along with a large fishing fleet and working bay front; Siletz is the home of the Administration Center and reservation of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon; Toledo is known as Lincoln County's industrial center; Waldport features the Alsea Bay Interpretive Center; and Yachats isknown as the "Gem of the Oregon Coast."
(County information obtained from Oregon Blue Book)
Climate Tables (Lincoln County, Oregon)