Weather Service predicts strong Ore. storm

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The National Weather Service is predicting that a storm taking aim at the Northwest could be the strongest since a series of storms that hit the north Oregon coast and southwest Washington in December 2007.

Meteorologist Andy Bryant tells The Oregonian that the storm expected Tuesday and Wednesday is likely to bring the strongest winds since that fierce 2007 weather but nothing close to the peak gusts topping 100 mph that snapped trees like matchsticks.

He's predicting 80 mph gusts on Oregon beaches with winds as high as 70 mph in coastal towns.

On Monday night, the Coast Guard closed the Columbia River bar entrance near Astoria, Ore., due to hazardous conditions.

Earlier Monday, high winds sent a large branch crashing through the windshield of an SUV traveling on U.S. Highway 101 near Cannon Beach. KGW reports that the branch landed right between the two front seat occupants but they escaped unhurt.

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