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Moderate Threat of Sneaker Waves This Weekend Along Washington, Oregon Coast

Published 4/05/24 at 6:15 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Moderate Threat of Sneaker Waves This Weekend on Washington, Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – The National Weather Service (NWS) is saying there is a moderate threat of sneaker waves along the Oregon coast this weekend, with Saturday and Sunday showing some mighty long periods between swells. (Above: Neskowin / Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Friday and Saturday will brings some decent minus tides, but that will be negated on Saturday with the sneaker wave dangers. See Big Minus Tides on Oregon Coast Coming Up: Great Clamming, Maybe More Beach Access

“Beware of sneaker waves at the beach,” the NWS said. “If you're headed to the shore for spring break or recreational activities keep an eye out for sneaker waves, which can run up much faster and farther than other waves.”

The NWS in Portland said to stay away from jetties and logs on the beach. It does not take much water – only about an inch – to lift a sizable log and drop it on someone in the surf.

This is for the upper half of the Oregon coast and southern part of Washington's coast, but there is no similar message for the southern Oregon coast. However, the period timing between waves is similar down south if not higher than up north. Although the NWS out of Medford did not issue such a statement, it's also a good idea to be very careful of sneaker waves in those areas, which includes beaches near Reedsport, Coos Bay, Bandon, Gold Beach, Port Orford and Brookings.

Winema Beach / Oregon Coast Beach Connection

It is the period timing that often dictates what kind of sneaker wave dangers there are, and these are sizable.

Along the northern half of Oregon through south Washington beaches, the NWS is predicting combined waves just over 7 feet with timing at least 13 seconds later in the day Saturday. Then on Sunday, offshore waters see 8 or so feet but with a timing up around or beyond 14 seconds at times.

A long timing between swells means a few can pile up into one big wave with lots of energy to charge up the beach and injure someone.

See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

On the southern half, Saturday sees over 17 seconds between waves and at least 15 seconds on Sunday. Both parts of the coastline cool down those numbers by Monday.

There are some sizable negative tides predicted throughout the weekdays, so those may remain enjoyable after Monday.

Extreme caution should be exercised when it comes to beaches and their tides, no matter the conditions.

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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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