Deadly ‘Sneaker’ Waves Forecast to Hit California Coast

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Forecasters are warning beachgoers of a strong swell that could produce deadly “sneaker” waves capable of sweeping people into the ocean.

The National Weather Service warned that an ocean swell could produce deadly “sneaker” waves along the coastline. (credit: Los Angeles Times)

The “long period” northwest swell will primarily affect the central and northern coastline — from Sonoma County south to Monterey County — producing large surf and rip currents, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a warning on Monday.

Sneaker waves were blamed in the deaths of three members of an Arcata family last year near Eureka. The tragedy unfolded when the family dog got swept up in a wave near the water’s edge. A 16-year-old boy and his parents died while trying to rescue it and one another when they too got caught in the raging surf.

The National Weather Service warned that the latest swell will last through at least Tuesday afternoon and create “potentially dangerous” conditions at some beaches, including large shore breaks.

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