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Oregon Coast Sneaker Waves Can Take Deadly Toll

Oregon State University oceanographer Tuba Ozkan-Haller says, “The ocean is never a low risk environment. That’s just a fact.”

Even on a perfectly calm day at the beach the wave researcher says the ocean’s movements change during a time frame that is hard for people to notice.

She says there has been surprisingly little research done on sneaker waves, though she’d like to start some. Generally, scientists don’t know enough to predict when a wave will suddenly come in larger than the ones that precede it.

“Even though we don’t exactly know why,” says Ozkan-Haller, “the National Weather Service collected data that shows most of the sneaker wave accidents happen during rising tides.”

Ozkan-Haller says most sneaker waves may not be dangerous but they should never be taken for granted.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting