Tuesday Night Tsunami

Heavy thunderstorms hit the New England last Tuesday. While it was not a strong storm or hurricane, there was a sharp drop in barometric pressure.

Amazingly, this produced a tsunami.

No, it was not a Big Kahuna style tsunami that you see on Hawaii Five-O trailers, nor was it an Indonesian-killing wall of water that reached 10 miles inland. To my knowledge, this tsunami, if it even reached the shore, had no discernible effects.

This was a meteotsunami, and I sure hope that I spelled that right. Unlike normal tsunamis, which are born from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or even asteroid strikes, a meteotsunami arises from atmospheric conditions.

They happen more than we think they happen. The Great Lakes get 100 of them a year, I am told. Most of them are very small, although there have been damaging ones in the past. Meteotsunamis have killed several people in Chicago within the last 100 years, and one struck Massachusetts in the last 5 years… heck, one may have struck us in the last 2 days.

Tuesday’s meteotsunami registered on as NOAA buoy off of Conneticut, and the wave ended up hitting the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The wave was 10 inches tall, not even Gary Coleman could surf it. However, it was officially a tsunami.

Did it hit New England? Not that I am aware of. New England has been hit by tsunamis before. A strong thunderstorm offshore in 2013 produced a meteotsunami, which hit both Massachusetts and New Jersey. Again, it was small, but not small enough to escape notice.

Massachusetts may also have been hit with a real tsunami of seismic origin during the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake, which put a 20 foot tsunami into parts of Canada and snapped all of the transatlantic ocean cables around here. The arrival of the tsunami in Massachusetts was unnoticeable, due to a strong Nor’easter hitting the region at the time.

They may have had a tsunami wash ashore Tuesday, I am not sure as we are going to press.

So, while it was minor, a tsunami did form in the region Tuesday night. More will come in the future.

tsun2

 

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