Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Calif. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Beach visitors urged to stay back from, out of waters

Visitors to beaches in the San Francisco and Monterey bay areas were urged to stay back from and going into the ocean Friday afternoon until Sunday evening, National Weather Service officials said.

That’s because large shorebreaks and the increased risk of rip currents and sneaker waves are expected.

Forecasters said the shorebreak will be 15 to 20 feet in height with larger breaks possible where larger breaks typically occur.

The risk of rip currents will increase with a long period energetic swell and the risk of sneaker waves will rise as forerunners arrive Friday afternoon with periods of 20 to 21 seconds.

Sneaker waves can catch beachgoers off guard and pull them into cold, turbulent water.

Sets of large waves may sneak up on beachgoers after long periods of small waves. Lulls in sets of large waves may last 20 to 30 minutes.

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