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Update: Huge Waves, Foam on Oregon Coast: No Evidence of Missing People

Published 10/09/2017 at 2:37 AM PDT - Updated 10/10/2017 at 3:57 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Update: Huge Waves, Foam on Oregon Coast: No Evidence of Missing People

(Oregon Coast) – (UPDATES LATEST ON MISSING PEOPLE: NO EVIDENCE NOW THAT ANYONE WAS ACTUALLY SWEPT OUT TO SEA). Gargantuan waves were creating awe along the Oregon coast Sunday, along with some massive sea foam in some areas adding to the spectacle. It's a sight that may well continue for a few days.

However, it wasn't all fun in the sun this weekend. A flurry of activity hit the Depoe Bay area Sunday when a man reported seeing three people swept out to sea by a large wave. He was badly injured trying to rescue them. After a day of searching, and after authorities were finally granted access to the man in hospital, the Newport office of Oregon State Police (OSP) said there is now no evidence anyone was ever actually swept out to sea.

OSP said the man may have misunderstood what happened when a group of people got soaked by a wave, and now since injuring himself he is having memory problems. The matter is now closed.

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That large surf, while dangerous, did put on an impressive show in many rocky stretches, especially in Yachats. The Pacific Ocean got incredibly foamy as well, as gigantic waves pummeled that rocky section of the central Oregon coast.

All this is no wonder, considering much of the coastline was under a small craft advisory with seas hazardous to marine vessels, issued by the National Weather Service. While that didn't translate to breakers big enough to cause major problems on sandy beaches, it made some rocky shelf areas more dicey than others. Combined seas were clocking in around 12 feet, which often means you need to stay a little farther back than usual at places like Yachats, Arch Cape or Oceanside.

Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said the surf was sizable at the sandy stretches around Warrenton Sunday, but the foamy displays remained largely confined to rocky spots.

There's a good possibility those big waves and the foam will stick around for a few days. The same storm system that was driving the large waves will continue to do so through much of the week, with 8- to 13-foot waves predicted at times through Wednesday.

Waves churning up bio matter in the surf is also what causes a lot of the foam, which looked like enormous flows of soap suds in Yachats Sunday. Sea foam is caused largely by the microscopic skeletons of phytoplankton, which create bigger and bigger air bubbles the more they are churned up.

It's also quite possible a big phytoplankton bloom created more of them usual, which is often caused by the warmer, sunny conditions which the Oregon coast has been experiencing lately. If the surf conditions should suddenly turn more erratic, the ocean can become much sudsier. Where to stay for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour More of sea foam and wild waves below:


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