PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The seasonal king tides forecast to swamp Oregon and Washington’s coastline from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27 will pair with a heightened risk of sneaker waves. The combo will create especially dangerous beach conditions through the Thanksgiving weekend.
Local National Weather Service Meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Cooley told KOIN 6 News that the Pacific Northwest will see a moderate threat of sneaker waves on Thanksgiving. Beach conditions will worsen over the weekend as a “high” threat of sneaker waves will exist at the same time as the seasonal king tides — the highest tides of the year.
King tides occur when the alignment of the sun and moon combine to add extra pull on the Earth, causing its oceans to swell. During a king tide, water levels can be half-a-foot or more above the highest daily tide average. These exceptionally high tides can flood coastlines — especially when combined with stormy weather.
Sneaker waves are powerful rogue waves that unexpectedly surge past tidelines. The potentially deadly waves can carry heavy objects like logs and sweep beachgoers off their feet, dragging them into the icy water. KOIN 6 Meteorologist Josh Cozart warns that a sneaker wave hitting a beach during a king tide would create an added level of danger.
“The sneaker wave and king tide collision this weekend is great for ocean viewers, but also poses some of the biggest risks of the year to those heading to the coast,” Cozart said. “The first rule is to never turn your back on the ocean when heading to the coast. King tides make for a shallow beach, helping to push unsuspecting waves even farther onshore.”
Oregon’s 2023-2024 king tide forecast:
November 25 – 27, 2023
December 13 – 15, 2023
January 11 – 13, 2024
February 8-10, 2024