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Mammoth Waves Up to 35 Ft Coming to Washington / Oregon Coast

Published 1/08/24 at 4:15 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mammoth Waves Up to 35 Ft Coming to Washington / Oregon Coast

(Newport, Oregon) – A rather lengthy run of large-scale wave events are hitting the Oregon coast and south Washington coast right now, with beach hazard statements turning into high surf warnings through Wednesday and then king tides hit the region. Waves up to a mammoth 35 feet are “likely” on the northern half of Oregon's shores, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) and wave height not far behind on the south coast. (Photo above Oregon King Tides / Jessica Keys)

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To be blunt: waves want to murder you this week.

The NWS issued a beach hazards statement through later today (Monday) for that entire region from Westport south to Brookings, but Tuesday and Wednesday are a full-blown high surf warning in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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Breakers 28 to 35 feet are likely from Florence through the south Washington coast, said the NWS. That includes Yachats, Newport, Lincoln City, Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside and Long Beach. Wave height from Reedsport through Brookings should be more around 22 to 28 feet, which is still considerably more dangerous than many wave events this season so far.

See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

These breakers are made more hazardous by the long period between swells, which is a very long 14 seconds or more in places. This causes waves to sometimes combine into one larger wave with much more bundled up energy, running farther up the beach than the others. 'Wave Height' Explained Along Oregon, Washington Coast: What It Means

“This heavy swell combined with very steep wind waves will likely lead to dangerous and chaotic seas Tuesday into Wednesday,” the NWS said.

Photo Oregon King Tides / Amy Williams

There are various marine warnings offshore as well.

In the past, when wave height has been this high, some amount of destruction to property usually occurs. One such event in 2017 actually caused a wave to smack a woman on a balcony. See Huge Waves Injure Woman on Oregon Coast Balcony, Other Damage.

“Destructive waves may wash over beaches, jetties, and other structures unexpectedly,” the NWS said. “People can be swept off rocks and jetties and drown while observing high surf. Severe beach erosion may destroy coastal properties and buildings. Higher than normal water run-up is expected on beaches and low-lying shoreline.”

You're going to want to stay off all beaches on the coastlines this week. While it will be excellent wave watching, remain far back from the surf and stick to high vantage points.

Seas will begin subsiding later Wednesday through Friday once the warning expires about 10 a.m. However, king tides come swooping in starting Thursday, but that will likely just mean larger wave events during high tides and not ongoing issues.

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Arizona Beach near Brookings, courtesy Wanda Blanton / Oregon King Tides

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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