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What is a “Sneaker Wave?”

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What is a sneaker wave?
MaryAnn McCoy
Grants Pass

A sneaker wave is a large wave that typically appears out of nowhere along coastal sections. They form from very strong storms that develop along the eastern side of Asia. They can grow nearly as large as hurricanes but are not tropical systems and rather strong, deep areas of low pressure.

Sneaker waves often catch swimmers, beach goers, and bystanders off guard. For this reason, the NWS will issue warnings or watches in advance to advise the public to keep away from the water. The rule of thumb is to never turn your back on the water, due to the history and hazards associated with these waves.