Sneaker waves possible at SF’s Ocean Beach, other Bay Area beaches

Beaches along the Bay Area coastline could produce waves of potentially deadly “sneakers” and strong rip currents from Sunday morning through Monday morning, weather officials warned.

A beach hazard statement was issued Sunday 10 a.m. through Monday 10 a.m. on beaches across the northwest, including Ocean Beach, Pacifica State Beach and the Bodega Bay shoreline, according to the National Weather Service.

Weather officials have warned people never to turn their backs on the beach, as large waves can unexpectedly knock sunbathers into the ocean.

“It’s a longer swell period, so (the waves are) a bit more energetic,” said Rick Canepa, meteorologist with the weather service.

The swell period was expected to be around 20 seconds and will decrease to 18 seconds by Monday morning, Canepa said.

A swell period is the time between wave crests. Shorter swells are around 12 to 15 seconds, Canepa said. Waves become more energetic when there are longer swell periods.

“It increases the danger” of sneaker waves, he added.

Sneaker waves are more common in the winter, according to the National Weather Service.

During 7 week deadly stretch last winter, eight people were swept into the ocean on Bay Area beaches. All of the deaths occurred on days when the weather service issued statements about the dangers of the beach.

Jessica Flores is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @jesssmflores

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