Know what a ‘sneaker wave’ really is?

National Weather Service launching sneaker wave education

Waves along the Oregon coast, April 2017 (KOIN)
Waves along the Oregon coast, April 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore.. (KOIN) – The weather is warming up and between spring break and more trips to the coast, the National Weather Service wants to continue to spread the message about sneaker waves.

What are sneaker waves? A deceitful danger of rushing water that “can occur at any time of the year,” said Tyree Wilde, the Warning Coordination Manager for the NWS.

A graphic provided by the National Weather Service, April 2017
A graphic provided by the National Weather Service, April 2017

“A sneaker wave basically is, if you go out there and watch the waves, you’ll see a series of waves coming up to shore then all of a sudden one of these wave series will come up much further than the preceding waves,” he told KOIN 6 News.

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Wilde suggested choosing your beaches wisely. “A shallow sloping beach, much like Seaside, is much much safer than a steep beach”

He and his team are working to connect with the public by building a social media bridge to help get the word out about sneaker waves during active weeks — like spring break.

“It’s got to be on peoples mind that the sneaker wave threat is always there and sometimes the risk is greater than others,” he said.

NWS meteorlogist Evan Bentley said it’s extremely important for people to become more aware.

“A lot of people don’t know what a sneaker wave is. Early on now that we are starting to develop a science we need to develop an understanding of the public,” Bentley said. “We started to create educational things and a lot of times it’s the interaction. When people ask ‘What is a sneaker wave?’ or “How can I protect myself?’, this is how we improve our graphics by learning the type of questions that people want to know.”

A graphic provided by the National Weather Service, April 2017
A graphic provided by the National Weather Service, April 2017