The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazards Statement from coastal Sonoma County to coastal Monterey as an intense period of swells approaches the Bay Area this week.
Weather service officials said a southwest-west swell will range from 5-to-6 feet at around 18-20 seconds starting around 5 a.m. Tuesday at west- and northwest-facing beaches. The swell period will go down to 17 seconds Wednesday afternoon and evening.
The highest risk of sneaker waves and rip currents will be from Tuesday morning into Wednesday morning.
"It increases the risk of being swept into the sea by it (a wave) not being so large," meteorologist Rick Canepa said.
Water temperatures are expected to be in the low to mid 50s. Weather service officials say cold water shock or paralysis is expected for anyone not anticipating cold water.
Beachgoers or any who may be near a beach -- despite multiple regional shelter-in-place order during the novel coronavirus pandemic -- are advised that waves may appear from out of nowhere.
Steep beaches will have larger waves where sand and water meet and coastal erosion is possible. Increased marine detritus or biological debris is also on beaches and near shorewaters.