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High Sneaker Wave Dangers for South Oregon Coast on Sunday

Published 11/01/20 at 4:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

High Sneaker Wave Dangers for South Oregon Coast on Sunday

(Bandon, Oregon) – The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Medford has issued a special weather statement that sneaker waves will pose a sizable risk on the southern Oregon coast on Sunday. Dangerous conditions will exist on the beaches from early Sunday afternoon through Monday, the NWS said, covering the areas of Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, Bandon, Gold Beach and Brookings. (Photo courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast)

All this happens in spite of what will be pleasant weather on southern beaches.

The beach hazards alert is for 2 p.m. on Sunday through 11 a.m. on Monday morning, and it could be changed to a watch or warning. The NWS said the beaches could be quite dangerous, especially on smaller beaches with no clear exit to dunes, such as near Cape Arago, Harris Beach or some of the accesses at Samuel H. Boardman.

Beaches like those with cliffs behind you will not be a good idea. Sneaker waves can zoom up the beach much farther than expected.

“Even during calm conditions sneaker waves can sweep up the beach without warning and knock unsuspecting people over and pull them out to sea,” the NWS said. “Shock and hypothermia can occur quickly in the cold Pacific waters. Logs and other debris can be lifted and carried by these waves, crushing or entrapping unsuspecting victims underneath.”

On the plus side, areas like Shore Acres could be providing a decent show.

The NWS said you should not be swimming along the southern Oregon coast in these conditions, and keep your distance while walking on the beaches. Do not turn your back on the sea.

Paradoxically, it will be lovely conditions out there, with parts of the south coast seeing upwards of 60 degrees and light winds, along with wave height that isn’t very large in general. However, the culprit here is the period swell – which means the timing between wave swells. When the timing is long, these waves can combine and pile up out at sea, then come barreling onto the beach in the form of a sneaker wave.

“A long period swell group will arrive Sunday afternoon and likely persist into early Monday morning,” the NWS said. “This arriving swell will have the potential to create beach hazards due to waves running further onshore than normal, or sneaker waves.”

Conditions along the entire Oregon coast will be sunny over the weekend, lingering in the mid 50s for the areas north of Florence and into the Washington coast, while the southern Oregon coast will get up to 60 on Sunday and maybe beyond the closer you get to Brookings. Seas on the northern half of the coast will be at around 10 feet in height but with no sneaker wave issues for places like Yachats, Cannon Beach or Newport. See Oregon Coast Weather

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Harris Beach

South Oregon Coast Gets Dangerous Sneaker Waves Sunday
Cape Sebastian

Cape Arago, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

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