With a long period of swell expected to hit Northern California beaches on Wednesday and Thursday, officials are warning potential beachgoers to beware of dangerous sneaker waves this week. The waves are expected along the coast from the Bay Area all the way up to Humboldt.
Sneaker waves will bring water much higher up onto the beach than expected, potentially sweeping people out into the ocean. They can also push debris like logs high up the beach, which can knock over or pin people on the beach. This can result in sometimes fatals occurrences, which is why the National Weather Service is announcing Beach Hazards throughout the week.
Dangerous conditions along the coast continue Wednesday and Thursday. https://t.co/DV7PgUllHK— Point Reyes NPS (@PointReyesNPS) December 1, 2020
There is a high risk of sneaker waves on Wednesday due to a long period swell arriving to our coast. Sneaker waves are large waves that seem to come out of nowhere and can catch you off guard. There can be 20 minutes between the large sets of waves. pic.twitter.com/MqymacUGwh— NWS Eureka (@NWSEureka) December 1, 2020
There have been several fatal incidents due to sneaker waves in NorCal in recent years, including a fisherman getting swept out to sea in 2019.
The below viral video from Humboldt can show you the unexpected nature of sneaker waves;