About three feet of water flooded through the city's restaurant and nightclub district, at a time of year when it usually is filled with visitors, the website said.
One witness said that the huge waves dragged other cars as well.
Though the weather has calmed a bit, officials temporarily have banned bathers from the city's beaches.
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"In some beaches (tidal waves) have removed a significant percentage of sand and in others it has been incorporated, the concern is for those who have lost sand. Because once the sand is removed you can see debris, irons and other elements that are very dangerous for swimming," Rodrigo Vattuone, the maritime governor of Vaparaiso, told Ahora Noticas.
The extreme weather event also has highlighted an ongoing problem. Like many communities along the Pacific coast of the Americas, Viña del Mar is vulnerable to being flooded by storms, due to rising sea levels and increasingly violent weather caused by climate change. Another article in La Tercera reported that the resort city's seawalls and other infrastructure to protect against such events are inadequate, and need to be augmented. But residents are concerned that beefing up the protection will mar the view of the ocean, which helps to attract tourists.
One engineer has proposed building a submerged wall a few meters away from the beach, which would redirect waves to break before they reach the town.
But Chile isn't the only place being hit with waves. This YouTube video shows a sneaker wave in Oregon that sent locals running for safety.