Watch CBS News

Aleutian Storm Kicks Up Dangerous Surf Conditions On Bay Area Beaches

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A potent storm front battering the Aleutian Islands, thousands of miles north of San Francisco, was sending sets of massive waves towards the Bay Area Saturday, triggering warnings of hazardous beach conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a warning to beachgoers to be on the alert for deadly sneaker waves and strong rip tides until at least Sunday afternoon.

"A very long period northwest swell originating from a storm system near the Aleutians will arrive along the coastline this weekend," the weather service said. "This very long period northwest swell will create a high risk of sneaker waves at area beaches. Sneaker wave risk rises substantially Saturday as swell heights build while wave periods of 17 to 21 are expected. In addition, stronger than usual rip
currents should be expected."

Forecasters said the ocean can appear deceptively calm with long lulls between larger wave sets.

"This may lead to individuals venturing onto exposed coastal features where infrequent but powerful waves can overwhelm them, knocking
them into the cold, restless ocean where the possibility of hypothermia or drowning is severe," the weather service warned. "Each year, individuals lose their lives during similar sneaker wave events along the California coast."

"If visiting the coast this weekend, respect the power of the ocean, remain vigilant of your surroundings, and avoiding venturing onto exposed coastal features where sudden, powerful waves can put your life at risk...There can be 30 minutes of small waves before a sneaker wave strikes."

Last year, eight people lost their lives when rip currents pulled them away from the shore, including 12-year-old Arunay Pruthi of Fremont. He had jumped in to try to help his father and little brother. At places like Ocean Beach, the signs are there for a reason.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.