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Officials Warn of Sneaker Wave Dangers Over Weekend at Washington Coast, Oregon Coast

Published 12/27/2019 at 5:22 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Both the Washington coast and the Oregon coast have special weather statements issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), warning of the likelihood of sneaker waves on all beaches of both states. The NWS said high seas combined with frigid ocean conditions mean extra dangers.

This weekend's oceanic chaos began late on Thursday and the NWS said conditions like this will linger through Sunday. The words of caution including the southern Oregon coast, such as Brookings, Gold Beach and Coos Bay; up through Yachats, Manzanita, Newport, Lincoln City, Pacific City and Cannon Beach; and into Washington coast towns such as Long Beach, Ocean Shores and La Push.

“Increasing waves will create conditions favorable for sneaker waves off the Oregon and Washington coast starting Friday and continuing through the weekend,” the NWS said. “Sneaker waves can knock people off their feet, sweep them into the ocean and shift logs and rocks creating dangerous conditions. Beach visitors need to pay extra attention to approaching waves and NEVER turn your back on the ocean.”

Waves are expected to run significantly farther up beaches than normal at times, including over rocks and jetties. The NWS said this could knock someone over and quickly pull them into the ocean, which is extremely cold right now.

Keep children and pets away from the surf zone, the agency said. Keep off of jetties, rocks and logs near the surf zone. If you see someone swept into the sea do not swim in after them. Call 911 and keep an eye on them until help arrives.

It’s the long period swells that create much of the danger, meaning the longer the space between waves the higher they can pile up together and build into something with enormous energy. This energy then causes waves to charge up beaches faster and further.

See Best Lodgings for Storm Watching on Oregon Coast

On the southern Oregon coast, Friday begins building with combined seas of 12 feet but a long period swell at 17 seconds. It stays in that vicinity until it gains a little on Sunday then begins to subside.

Farther north, around the north and central Oregon coast, waves will be slightly higher and with longer period swells. Friday’s offshore combined seas will be at 16 feet at 16 seconds, dipping somewhat on Saturday, and then raising again just a tad by Sunday.

Up on the southern Washington coast, combined seas will be up around 18 feet with swells at 17 seconds, then continuing to drop a few feet over the weekend.

For the southern Oregon coast, the NWS had some more details for the offshore region.

“Several heavy swell trains will move through the coastal waters over the coming week, bringing periods of steep seas,” the NWS said. “One westerly train is subsiding now, but another northwest swell train will move in Friday, peaking in the afternoon. Another westerly train will build Sunday night, peaking Monday morning. More will follow through the first half of next week. There will be weak fronts moving through as well tonight and Saturday night into Sunday. The latter front will be the strongest one, and it may bring small craft advisory winds to areas north of Cape Blanco. A thermal trough will develop Monday, bringing small craft advisory winds south of Cape Blanco Monday into Tuesday.”

 See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather








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