If you’re planning a beach walk or exploring rocky shores this weekend, heads-up, surf’s up.
The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for high surf and sneaker waves.
Dangerous waves are possible along the Central Coast this weekend. A building west swell has great potential to produce 16 to 18 foot breaking waves on Saturday. The ocean swell responsible for these waves will have long periods near 19 seconds and result in extended pauses between the larger waves. Sneaker waves are sudden and unexpected waves that reach farther up the beach than normal. They can take beachgoers by surprise and sweep them out into the frigid and turbulent waters of the North Pacific. The danger is magnified this weekend because the weather will not be stormy, and because the long pauses between waves may create a false perception of safe conditions. Saturday has the greatest potential for sneaker waves, but the surf will remain high throughout the weekend.
Stay alert to the danger of sneaker waves and never turn your back to the ocean. Maintaining a good distance from the surf and wearing lifejackets are good safety measures, especially for children. Avoid walking near jetties where large waves can easily knock you off your feet and/or into the ocean.