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MONSTER WAVES | Atlantic Ocean

Largest waves on the planet target Newfoundland, see it here


Tyler Hamilton
Meteorologist

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 8:00 AM - The effects of the incredibly strong low pressure system moving through Atlantic Canada will cause more than ripples across the Atlantic Ocean this week, causing giant waves to track towards Europe and Africa. Check out these monstrous swells and the science behind the maximum theoretical wave height, below.


FAST FACTS: WAVE EDITION

  • LARGEST waves on the planet the next couple of days are forecast for the Grand Banks of Newfoundland
  • Significant wave height forecast over 15 metres (50 feet)
  • Theoretical maximum wave height over 30 metres (100 feet)
  • Large swells and surf forecast to reach Ireland, Portugal, and parts of Africa by this weekend

Keep on top of active weather by visiting the ALERTS page.

SEE THE MONSTER WAVES IMPACTING NEWFOUNDLAND



For the computer model simulation below, focus on the purple shades, those are wave heights between 20-30 feet, but that's just the significant wave height...

But, what does that mean? What is significant? Here's the calculation below:

SIGNIFICANT VS. MAXIMUM WAVE HEIGHT: LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BELOW



SCIENCE BEHIND WAVE HEIGHT FORECASTING

To put it simply, the significant wave height is an average of the largest 1/3 of the waves  observed. More modern calculations use a more sophisticated statistical approach.

But statistically, it's very possible to encounter a wave that is MUCH  higher than the significant wave height observed (blue line above). Most of the observable maximum wave heights fall between 1.5-2 times  the significant wave height observed. The standard deviation is used in more modern calculations of the significant wave height, which can be explained here.

The latest wave computer models are indicating an astounding 60 foot significant wave height in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean Thursday evening. Which would give a theoretical maximum wave well over 100 feet.

It's tough to comprehend a wave height of that magnitude, so watch the video at the top of the article to better visualize what a 10 story wave looks like.

The location that will be most susceptible to the largest waves in the Atlantic Ocean will undoubtedly be the Azores island chain, west of Portugal. The significant waves approaching these small islands will APPROACH 12 metres by early Friday morning.

THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER

While dealing with the most intense waves on the planet, it's no surprise that thousands have been left without power in Newfoundland as this beastly storm roars through. According to Newfoundland Power, there were about 12,000 customers without power early Thursday because of the severe weather and damaging winds. Downed trees and whiteout conditions in areas of heavy, blowing snow are also hampering restoration efforts, officials say. 



The weather conditions have also delayed or cancelled several flights in and out of the province, with Marine Atlantic cancelling its crossing on Thursday as well. 

WATCH BELOW: WHY THE WAVES WERE SO LARGE IN NEWFOUNDLAND ON THURSDAY:




With files from CBC

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