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Officials warn of sneaker waves, 'king tides' on Oregon Coast

The parks department is warning beachgoers of dangerous sneaker waves and extremely high "king tides."
Credit: Sharon Cebula

PORTLAND, Ore — Extremely high tides and sneaker waves will crash on the Oregon Coast through Tuesday, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) warned. They are urging all beachgoers to be cautious.

The National Weather Service is forecasting sneaker waves on Friday and Saturday on Oregon’s north coast and Washington’s southern beaches, OPRD said.

“Sneaker waves can surge up the beach, traveling much further inland than normal waves,” said OPRD Safety Specialist Robert Smith. “The common adage to ‘never turn your back to the ocean’ is even more important at this time.”

Sunday will usher in three days of extremely high tides called “king tides."

“We have a new moon this weekend, which acts like a full moon in increasing tidal extremes. The moon is also at perigee, its closest approach to Earth, so that increases the tides too,” said KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino.

The next occurrences of king tides will be Dec. 13-15 and Jan. 11-13, 2021.

“King tides bring huge waves, and naturally people want to come watch,” Smith said. “We want to remind you of a few tips to stay safe.”

OPRD is asking beachgoers to respect closures and barricades, stay off the sand and watch the waves from an elevated location well above the action.