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Flooding reported as Washington coast battered by gigantic waves

High surf crashes off LaPush, Washington on Jan. 18, 2018. Some waves were reported over 30 feet high offshore. (Photo: Jay Cline)

WESTPORT, Wash. - Huge ocean swells pounded the Washington and Oregon coastlines Thursday as an off-shore storm churned in the Pacific, flooding streets in coastal towns and causing injuries and property damage.

The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood watch for the Washington coast through 10 p.m. Thursday, and by mid-day, crashing waves were overtopping jetties all along the coastline. Waves are expected to subside to below 25 feet Thursday night.

Ocean swells rolled over the new sea wall at Westport in Grays Harbor County, pushing saltwater into the streets. Cove Street was blocked by seawater and crab pots were washed into a parking lot there.

The observation deck at Westport was a popular spot to watch the surf, but one wave caught them off guard.

"When it came up and over none of us realized that it was going to be that big," said Dave Zundel.

Home video showed the wave as it washed over the barrier and swept over a visitor. Fortunately he was OK -- he held onto the railing and made it out safely, soaking wet, but alive.

MORE | Big wave nearly washes storm watcher away

At La Push, gigantic waves smashed against the rocky coastline and white sea foam blew inland across beaches.

A man was washed off the beach by a wave at Neah Bay, but he was able to self-rescue before a Coast Guard arrived on scene.

The captain of the port for Oregon and southern Washington closed all port entrances from the California border to Tillamook Bay to all vessel traffic, the Coast Guard said. Farther up the coast, Quillayute River entrance was closed to all vessel traffic.

At Washaway Beach, property owners used heavy equipment to try and keep the waves from eroding the land out from beneath structures there.

Blustery winds also were reported. A 62-mph wind gust was reported at Cape Disappointment, and a 40-mph gust hit Long Beach.

In Oregon, two women were injured when they were struck by a wave-tossed log near Lincoln City, and a 20- to 30-year-old man was swept out to sea by a large wave.

High waves on the Oregon coast in Lincoln City hit a restaurant so hard Thursday that a gas line was severed and the building was evacuated.

The coastal flooding follows an overnight storm that blew through Western Washington with thunder, lightning, hail and gusty winds, toppling trees, knocking out power to thousands and blocking streets.


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