No other word quite so completely describes the sight of a Pacific storm with its gigantic waves, driving winds and drenching rains.
But when high tides, pushed by winds that have traveled across the ocean faster than freeway traffic, combine to send walls of water crashing onto coastal rocks, spewing pelting froth 50, 60, even 70 feet into the air, other words - awesome, terrifying, deadly - also apply.
Between the winter storms that can batter the Oregon Coast any time from mid-November through March or even later, birds that make their home along the anything-but-pacific shoreline emerge from their hiding places to feed and preen before the next onslaught. Sometimes, at places such as Cape Arago, where tiny coves offer sanctuary from wind and water, the birds can almost ignore the thrashing storms just a few feet away.
But that's not for human storm watchers, who taste the spray of the wildest, wettest spots along Oregon's 360 or so miles of coast, pitting themselves against wind gusts strong enough to blow them over while outmaneuvering mighty waves that can - and tragically sometimes do - carry them away to the unyielding sea.