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Dorian sent a 100-foot wave crashing toward Newfoundland

Tuesday, September 10th 2019, 4:40 pm - One of the most powerful hurricanes in recent memory records another impressive stat.

While Hurricane Dorian's impacts are still being felt in Atlantic Canada, it appears one of the storm's most dramatic events may have stayed offshore.

As the storm passed through the region Saturday night, an ocean buoy stationed near Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, recorded a mammoth wave more than 30 metres high.

That's a wave towering at about 100 feet; tall enough to wash over an 8-storey office building.

SMA port aux basques Image courtesy SmartAtlantic

Newfoundland is no stranger to massive waves, but waves this size are uncommon, to say the least.

That the wave was recorded so close to the coast is significant as well. Wave motion obeys a complex series of equations as energy traverses the open ocean, and that motion is impacted as waves move into shallower, coastal waters -- including forcing waves to 'ride' higher above the mean ocean surface.

The 100-footer wasn't the only large wave recorded in the region, either, and some of those other major swells may have joined forces via a process known as constructive wave interference. That happens when waves interact and amplify one another, increasing the height of the wave's crest (and the depth of its trough).

This jaw-dropping swell may not have even been the highest in the area.

The buoy, which is owned and operated by the Marine Institute of Memorial University, only send back 10 minutes-worth of data from every hour. According to Bill Carter, the director of the Center of Applied Ocean Technology at the Marine Institute, we'll only know for sure if the other 50 minutes had higher waves when the buoy is retrieved and the data downloaded directly from the device.

Sources: CBC News | The Washington Post | SmartAtlantic | Memorial University |


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