PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A storm in the Gulf of Alaska will send dangerous ocean swells toward the Pacific Northwest Wednesday, causing a “highly elevated” threat of sneaker waves along the Oregon coast, Portland’s National Weather Service office warns.

The NWS said that Wednesday’s ocean conditions are similar to the conditions that caused a dangerous sneaker wave in Pacific County in 2016.

“We’re expecting a high-end sneaker wave threat Wednesday,” the NWS said. “Large, long-period swells from a distant storm will pack more of a punch than our usual sneaker threat.”

sneaker wave conditions
The shoreline at Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City Wednesday morning. (KOIN 6 weather cam)

The NWS states that beachgoers should stay away from the surf line throughout the day and always face the ocean. Although the coast is forecast for warm, sunny weather Wednesday, sneaker waves are deadly and can occur without warning.

“Sneaker waves are potentially deadly waves that surge further up the beach than expected, overtaking the unaware,” the NWS’ informational sneaker wave webpage states. “Beach goers can be swept into the ocean. This can result in cold water immersion. Cold water immersion can be dangerous, even deadly. There can be 10 to 20 minutes of small waves right before a sneaker wave strikes. Logs on the beach are wet, extremely heavy, and can weigh hundreds of pounds. Yet a single sneaker wave can lift and roll these logs further up the beach, as well as roll them back down the beach, knocking over or pinning unsuspecting beachgoers.”