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Officials Warn of Sneaker Waves This Weekend on Oregon Coast

Published 04/12/2019 at 7:03 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Officials Warn of Sneaker Waves This Weekend on Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – The National Weather Service (NWS) is warning the public about the possibility of sneaker waves along the Oregon coast this weekend as a long period of swells arrives Saturday. Even though combined seas won’t be much higher than 15 feet, a long swell period means waves can pile up offshore and then hit the beach as a dangerous sneaker wave.

The weather forecast is for a rainy weekend and early week on the shoreline, but later in the week should bring sunnier conditions to the beaches.

The NWS said the greatest cause for caution is on Saturday.

“Sneaker waves are large waves that seem to come out of nowhere,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “Sneaker waves can catch you off guard and quickly pull you into the ocean where survival is unlikely because of strong currents, turbulent surf, and very cold water. Do not be fooled by an ocean that looks calm: There can be up to 30 minutes of small waves right before a sneaker wave strikes.”

The NWS urged beachgoers to stay off rocks and jetties. Particularly dangerous will be rocky shelves such as at Yachats, Thor’s Well, or parts of Depoe Bay. Smaller beaches like those at Oceanside, Gleneden Beach, Hug Point near Cannon Beach and parts of Lincoln City will not be a good idea as well.

On top of these issues, the NWS had special warnings about dogs on the beach.

“Do not go in after dogs that get pulled into the surf,” the NWS said. “Dogs almost always get out on their own while their rescuers often do not. Don’t dive in, let them swim!”

Other hazards include even small logs floating in the water.

“These logs can way tons and can easily hurt or trap a person under them,” the NWS said. “Combined with the threat of sneaker waves these hazards can endanger both the victim and potential rescuers.”

Dominant periods offshore (the space between swells) will be at 16 to 18 seconds on Saturday.

Seas remain fairly high on Sunday but drop down at night to around 10 feet high. They rise again for most of the week, but only around 12 feet or so.

The weather forecast for the Oregon coast is for mostly cloudy conditions through Tuesday and lots of rain. Up to a quarter of an inch is possible over the weekend and highs will be in the low 50s. On Wednesday and Thursday, the forecast is for partly sunny, but then just in time for the weekend the skies cloud up again. See Oregon Coast Weather.

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