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Beachgoers Beware: Sneaker Waves Headed for Oregon Coast / Washington This Weekend

Published 04/01/22 at 6:55 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Beachgoers Beware: Sneaker Waves Headed for Oregon Coast / Washington This Weekend

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Seas will be ramping up slowly over the weekend on the northern half of the Oregon coast and southern Washington coast, resulting in rather large swells offshore and some gnarly sneaker waves on the beaches. The National Weather Service (NWS) said beachgoers should beware in areas like Long Beach, Westport, Florence, Yachats, Oceanside, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach and everywhere in between.

However, the south Oregon coast will be rather sunny for the weekend and not on the receiving end of such beach hazards.

“While the greatest threat for sneaker waves at this time will likely occur Sunday, there will be an elevated threat of sneaker waves beginning Saturday,” the NWS said. “Beachgoers, especially those digging for razor clams, should remain vigilant.”

The sneaker wave dangers coincide with clam dig times on the southern Washington coast. Also, the northern Oregon coast around Seaside and Warrenton is the prime spot for razor clamming so you are advised putting off that activity on Sunday.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

“Sneaker waves can surge high up the beach without warning, catching an inattentive individual off guard,” the NWS said. “They can run up significantly farther on a beach than normal, including over rocks and jetties as well as lifting or rolling extremely heavy logs. If you see someone swept into the sea, do not swim in after them. Call 911 and keep an eye on them until help arrives.”

Offshore winds along the north and central Oregon coast and south Washington coast are picking up considerably, helping push along these strong waves and their period timing.

“Perhaps the most critical weather concern with this system is significant wave heights,” NWS said. “Such are likely to reach 20 ft across all of the waters Monday evening, and the potential remains for 25 footers in the northern waters where the bulk of the wave energy from the incoming westerly swell will arrive. Seas should be slow to diminish Tuesday and Wednesday as high pressure builds back in and winds drop off.”

However, south of Florence, down through Coos Bay, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings, things take on a much sunnier disposition on the weekend. Look for sunny to mostly sunny skies on that part of the Oregon coast on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday darkens to mostly cloudy and some rain. Seas will be comparatively calm in the region, along a long period between swells will happen Sunday through Tuesday which could make for some unpredictability in ocean waves along those beaches.

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