Sneaker waves are heading to the Oregon/Washington coast this weekend

Beachgoers beware: Sneaker waves are heading to the Oregon/Washington coast this weekend

Posted 4/1/22 6:55 PM PST
By the staff of the Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Seas will rise slowly over the weekend along the northern half of the Oregon coast and the southern Washington coast, bringing fairly large swells offshore and gnarled sneaker waves on the beaches. The National Weather Service (NWS) said beachgoers should beware in areas like Long Beach, Westport, Florence, Yachats, Oceanside, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach and everywhere in between.

However, the southern Oregon coast will be quite sunny for the weekend and will not be the target of such beach hazards.

“While the greatest threat to sneaker surges at this time will likely occur on Sunday, there will be an elevated threat of sneaker surges beginning on Saturday,” the NWS said. “Beachgoers, especially those looking for knives, should stay alert.”

The dangers of sneaker waves coincide with clam digging hours on Washington’s southern coast. Also, the northern Oregon coast around Seaside and Warrenton is the perfect place for razor clam fishing, so it is advisable to reschedule this activity on Sundays.

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“Sneaker waves can surge high up on the beach without warning, catching an inattentive individual off guard,” the NWS said. “They can run much further on a beach than normal, including over rocks and piers, as well as lifting or rolling extremely heavy logs. If you see someone washed out to sea, don’t swim after them. Call 911 and keep an eye out for them until help arrives.

Onshore winds along the north and central Oregon coast and the south coast of Washington State are increasing significantly, helping to push these strong waves and their period.

“Perhaps the most critical weather concern with this system is wave height,” NWS said. “These are expected to reach 20ft over all waters on Monday evening, and the potential remains for 25ft in northern waters where most of the wave energy from the incoming westerly swell will arrive. Seas are expected to be slow to diminish Tuesday and Wednesday as high pressure returns and winds decrease.

However, south of Florence, through Coos Bay, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings, things take on a much sunnier disposition on weekends. Look for sunny to mostly sunny skies over this part of the Oregon Coast on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday darkens to mostly cloudy and some rain. Seas will be relatively calm in the area, along with a long period between swells occurring Sunday through Tuesday, which could make ocean waves along these beaches unpredictable.

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