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Sneaker Wave Dangers Sunday on Oregon, Washington Coast: How to Enjoy

Published 01/25/2020 at 5:50 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sneaker Wave Dangers This Weekend on Oregon, Washington Coast: How to Enjoy

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(Oregon Coast) – Big waves are again headed for the Oregon coast this weekend, with the Washington coast and northern and central Oregon coasts the subject of a beach hazards statement from the National Weather Service (NWS). The agency said large breakers and the substantial dangers of sneaker waves will be present in those areas from early Sunday morning through late Sunday evening.

The NWS is urging extreme caution from about Raymond, Washington down through Yachats – which includes places like the Long Beach Peninsula, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Newport, Yachats, and everything in between. The southern Oregon coast is not expected to get such dangerous conditions, though it will be rainy and windy.

“If you are thinking about heading to the coast on Sunday, be extra watchful of the sea as there will be increased likelihood for sneaker waves late Sunday morning through Sunday evening,” the NWS said. “This is due to the potential for a building long-period west swell to increase the strength and height of the water running up the beaches. This can easily catch someone off guard and drag them into the cold ocean waters. A Beach Hazards Statement has been issued for this coastal hazard.”

According to NWS wave prediction graphs, some gnarly big ones are expected offshore and then likely hitting the beaches. One of the largest examples is a prediction of 30-foot swells offshore at a period of 16 seconds that will result in a beach wave height of about 16 feet – all around 4 p.m.

The NWS said there is sizable dangers of getting knocked down by sneaker waves on the beaches and sucked into the frigid ocean. Stay clear of logs on the beaches as these can be lifted by a mere inch or two of water. Stay well clear of jetties as these are non-stop danger zones.

“Always keep an eye on the waves, and be especially watchful of children and pets,” the NWS said.

Considerable winds will be hitting the northern half of the Oregon coast and the southern half of the Washington coast, clocking in around the 20s on Sunday with gusts over 30 mph on occasion. It stays rainy and somewhat windy through much of the week.

Wild beach conditions may well return midweek with some hefty offshore swells again predicted in the teens and close to 20 feet at times. There are currently predictions of wave height on the beaches again around 15 feet, although the NWS has not yet issued forecasts for periods between the swells.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection is declaring all smaller beaches with no access to foredunes should be off limits. Places like Oceanside, Gleneden Beach, much of Lincoln City or Newport’s Nye Beach are short beaches with only cliff walls behind them and no means of getting away from waves.

How To Enjoy the Waves: Stick to rocky areas with distant viewpoints where you can stay a ways back from all the crazy action, such as the Depoe Bay seawall, the 804 Trail at Yachats (stay on the trail), the lookouts / parking lots above Pacific City, Oceanside, Nye Beach, the Seaside Promenade or the cliff lookout at Shore Acres near Coos Bay. Rocky spots will be your best bets for incredible sights. See oceanfront hotels here, as these will provide a constant show.

The waves are coming in straight from the west which will mean lots of interesting creatures and goodies washing up, which will be excellent for beachcombing later as wave conditions calm down.

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