Oak Harbor Marina breakwater damaged by winds

A breakwater at Oak Harbor Marina sustained damages as it was pounded by large waves and swells during Tuesday’s windstorm.

Harbormaster Chris Sublet said the strongest gust at the marina was recorded at 55 mph at 7:32 p.m. Winds were sustained at 35 mph. The winds were out of the west, which drove the waves straight into the marina.

“It was a pretty relentless pounding of our breakwater for a couple of hours,” he said.

Two panels on the breakwater were damaged in a windstorm a year ago. Ironically, Sublet was going to ask the city council at the next meeting to authorize repairs, but the storm this week damaged them further; one is now missing. Other areas of the breakwater are also damaged.

Marine surveyors will have to check underwater to determine the full extent of the damage, he said.

The state only allows short windows for fish protection when it comes to in-water work.

Sublet said the work will likely be done in late September.

It should be covered by the city’s insurance, which has a $5,000 deductible.

The good news, Sublet said, is that no boats were damaged and no people hurt in the spectacular storm.

Tuesday’s weather system spawned or morphed rather quickly, according to William Ingram Jr., a forecaster for the popular local Facebook page North Whidbey Island Weather.

Ingram lives in Oak Harbor.

“It came from the gulf of Alaska and cruised south-southeast towards Vancouver island,” he said.

“The low was not that deep however, (and) the strait does what it does best, and that is to squeeze the air rushing through it. Very similar to a water hose having a nozzle at the end of it.

“As a result of this funnel effect, we were blasted with western winds while areas like Mount Vernon received very little in the way of wind.

“The unique feature of this spring system was the abundance of cold air that it brought down from the upper atmosphere. Snow levels following the wind storm were around pass levels.

“The system eventually crossed over the northern Cascades on late Wednesday and headed east.”

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