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Officials Warn Sneaker Wave Dangers This Weekend for S. Washington Coast, Oregon Coast

Published 2/10/24 at 6:55 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Officials Warn Sneaker Wave Dangers This Weekend for S. Washington Coast, Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – There have been some stunningly beautiful sunsets out on the Oregon coast this last week, and some of that will continue this week. (Holiday Beach near Newport / Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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However, big, dangerous waves are another story. The entire coastline of Oregon and southern Washington coast are under a beach hazards statement from the National Weather Service (NWS), with slightly higher-than-normal tides not helping. The southern Oregon coast warnings end late Saturday night, but for the northern half of the Oregon coast and southern half of Washington beaches this lasts through late Sunday.

Weather in general gets sizably wetter on the coastlines on Sunday but begins to clear out Monday, with the NWS saying Tuesday looks to be quite sunny (though not exactly warm.)

Wednesday – Valentine's Day – is looking to be partly sunny along the coastlines but with some rain, just as Thursday is predicted to be.

However, the dangers along sandy beaches should not be underestimated this weekend, with a pretty good chance of occasional sneaker waves. These pose significant dangers to beachgoers, the NWS said.

“Sneaker waves create potentially life-threatening conditions in the surf zone. Caution should be used when in or near the water,” the NWS said. “Always keep an eye on the waves, and be especially watchful of children.”

The NWS said beach hazard statements are issued when sneaker waves create potentially life-threatening conditions.


Cape Disappointment - courtesy Washington King Tides Project

Behind all this are offshore wave swells of over 11 feet with very long periods between them at over 14 seconds. Those timing periods result in waves that can pile up together and create one much larger set of breakers, which have enough energy to zoom up the beach much farther and hurt people.


Shore Acres, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

However, it's all going to mean ecstatic wave drama along the south Washington coast and Oregon coast. Places like Coos Bay's Shore Acres or Washington's Cape Disappointment will be host to enormous waves, even on Sunday and possibly Monday.

You may want to stay off most beaches (see Worst Beaches of the Oregon Coast for the kind of areas to keep away from during these conditions), but watching from above at rocky areas will be prime. Other spots for such wave action include Yachats, the pullouts at Humbug Mountain near Gold Beach, Port Orford Heads, Depoe Bay and perhaps Oceanside.

As wave conditions calm this week and the sun breaks out, you may want to do a bit of beachcombing for agates or other wonders. Some pyrosomes have been found recently, and there are numerous Valentine's Day romance packages (see the full list of romance packages here ).

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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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