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Was That A Tsunami? 79

Posted by timothy
from the about-time-new-jersey-got-some-bigger-waves dept.
Rebecka Schumann writes "The East Coast was hit by a tsunami earlier this month, but apparently, no one was the wiser. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a rare six-foot wave collided with the region in early June, a phenomenon currently under review. The wave is being considered 'complex' and is believed to have been caused 'the slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey' or a strong storm according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. While speculation regarding the mystery tsunami is rampant, another individual is claiming the surge could possibly be a 'meteotsunami,' meaning it was not caused by seismic activity but merely a change in meteorological conditions. Paul Whitmore, an NOAA tsunami center director, said a weather system's ability to change air pressure is enough to 'generate waves that act just like tsunamis.' The alleged tsunami caused three divers to be swept off rocks, two reportedly requiring medical attention after suffering from non life-threatening injuries due the storm. The tsunami, which also caused damage to boats and docks, reportedly lasted a total of five minutes." For less obtrusive advertising, see similar stories at The Verge, and at NPR.
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Was That A Tsunami?

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  • by Njoyda Sauce (211180) <jnjpepper.hotmail@com> on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:41AM (#44113301)

    Learn to swim.

    • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:07PM (#44113683)
      Wait for the Canary Island volcano [wikipedia.org] to collapse. Swimming won't be an option...moving 50 miles inland might not even help.
    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
      Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
      Followed by fault lines that cannot sit still.
      Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Weird, the dipshits came first. I guess Maynard was close, though.

    • or move away from living immediately adjacent to a large body of water...

    • by Spritzer (950539)
      Only a Tool would suggest something like that.
    • by jbwolfe (241413)
      I've now lived long enough to see Tool covered on /.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:55AM (#44113497) Journal

    I was four years old. We were at Myrtle Beach, SC. We were on dry sand, quite far back. I seem to recall the waves being large and clean, with very little chop; but not threatening to people up on the beach. A wave charged in, all the way to the boardwalk. The beach is relatively flat there, so the actual depth was only about a foot. My mother picked me up. My sister and my father were large enough to fend for themselves. I have no idea if anybody was hurt. The beach cleared. In the panic, my yellow plastic shovel was lost; but I spied it from up on the balcony of the motel. "Mommy, can you pllllleeeeease get it?". She went down, but another wave or a person must have taken it.

    Since then, I've heard of at least one other incident like this. I think it was in Florida.

    • by Jmc23 (2353706) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:07PM (#44113681) Journal

      Since then, I've heard of at least one other incident like this. I think it was in Florida.

      Which begs the question: For what nefarious plot does the Ocean need so many yellow plastic shovels?

    • I was four years old. We were at Myrtle Beach, SC. We were on dry sand, quite far back. I seem to recall the waves being large and clean, with very little chop; but not threatening to people up on the beach. A wave charged in, all the way to the boardwalk. The beach is relatively flat there, so the actual depth was only about a foot. My mother picked me up. My sister and my father were large enough to fend for themselves. I have no idea if anybody was hurt. The beach cleared. In the panic, my yellow plastic shovel was lost; but I spied it from up on the balcony of the motel. "Mommy, can you pllllleeeeease get it?". She went down, but another wave or a person must have taken it.

      Since then, I've heard of at least one other incident like this. I think it was in Florida.

      So...let me see if I got this straight. Two kids lost a yellow plastic shovel at Myrtle Beach, SC?

      • by istartedi (132515)

        So...let me see if I got this straight. Two kids lost a yellow plastic shovel at Myrtle Beach, SC?

        From this, I'm pretty sure
        I can infer
        that you are her.

    • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @01:18PM (#44114749)
      Waves have some complex behavior. There are ocean swells coming from various directions which can interact with each other, giving constructive and destructive interference. There are also locally generated wind wave effects which interact with the swells. All of this is interacting with previous waves backward motion. On a particular day at a particular area you might be getting 5' breakers on average, but they will vary from nearly nothing to occasional 8' waves. It wasn't uncommon to see the occasional monster wave, double or more the average.
    • When I was around 14 I was visiting family in Daytona Beach, we were walking on the beach at night after eating dinner listening to the waves for an hour or so then went home. Some time that night a very large wave came ashore and reached all the way up the beach past where the cars drive and where everyone sets up (umbrellas, towels, etc ). The next day, you could see how far it reached by the stains from the water in the otherwise white sand. I distinctly remember the weather man on the news saying it was
      • Found this in Wikipedia

        "On July 3, 1992, a 27 mile long Rogue wave hit the Volusia County beaches. The wave's range was from Ormond Beach in the north, to New Smyrna Beach on the south. The crest was 18 feet high and centered at Daytona Beach. Sailboats crashed ashore onto cars and many people suffered cuts and bruises from glass and debris. Two people required hospitalization and 200 vehicles were damaged. 75 injuries were reported. The prevailing theory is that an underwater landslide caused the rogue
        • by istartedi (132515)

          That sounds familiar. It's lucky the one at Myrtle Beach wasn't that big. I've never been able to find any information about it. It sounds like the kind of thing the local chamber of commerce doesn't exactly want to tout. "Come to our broad sandy beaches, and subject yourself to a 1:20000 chance of being terrified out of your mind by something powerful enough to knock you over and drown your baby".

          Maybe it's sitting there on some local librarian's microfiche though. OK... confession time. You're looki

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And Obama.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget to blame the Slashdot editors.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Obama? I thought global warming was caused by Al Gore.
      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        Obama? I thought global warming was caused by Al Gore.

        Listening to conservatives I have learned that *everything* is Obama's fault.

        • Obama? I thought global warming was caused by Al Gore.

          Listening to conservatives I have learned that *everything* is Obama's fault.

          Luckily, in turn *everything* can then be blamed on Bush then.

  • I grew up on the Oregon coast and whenever there was a tsunami warning hordes of people would come out from the valley inland to see it. Luckily for them there never was anything to see...

    • In New England lots of people try to go to the shore to watch the waves from hurricanes. So much so that the police try to block off access to the shore. But some still sneak through.
      • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @03:43PM (#44116243)

        In almost every case, the big, impressive waves arrive LONG before the storm itself, and the weather deteriorates & becomes unpleasant long before it actually becomes *dangerous* to be within sight of the waves. A hurricane isn't an event, it's a process. A *tornado* is an event... the storm quickly rolls in, the funnel drops from the sky (while the condensation cloud forms and makes it visible from the ground up), and it's *there*. Hurricanes? Hours, if not DAYS, of getting bitchslapped by rainbands that generally get worse and worse, until the eyewall FINALLY makes landfall and passes nearby (or directly above). Then, you get hit with a tornado-like windfield, have a few minutes of calm, another hit by the windfield (in the opposite direction), followed by a few more hours/days of the process in reverse.

        Now... the authorities might certainly *prefer* that everyone just leave instead of making their jobs more complicated by having to manage tourists and traffic as a hurricane is approaching, but it's not like the beach suddenly becomes a lethal place to be just because a hurricane is approaching and will be there in a few hours.

        The local road network matters, too. In Southwest Florida, yeah... there's a ~25 mile stretch of beach between Bonita Springs and Fort Myers with a 2-lane bridge at each end, another 10-15 miles of traffic just to get to I-75, and literally no other route to the mainland in between. Getting everyone "off the islands" is a major exercise in logistics. Contrast that with South Beach, where there's a 6-lane freeway and multiple other roads connecting it to the mainland, and a quarter of the population drives ashore every weekday over the span of 2-3 hours just getting to work. If anything, at the "Miami" end, the problem isn't evacuating Miami Beach to the mainland... it's the fact that people who live in western Dade County -- many of whom vividly remember being lied to by the government(*) -- trying to evacuate to Orlando (or worse, get frustrated when northbound I-75, Turnpike, and I-95 turn into parking lots, and head WEST across I-75 towards Naples, not realizing that they're going to encounter even WORSE northbound traffic on 75 long before they even make it across the county line).

        (*)When Andrew hit, the county authorities were ADAMANT that it was going to directly hit South Beach, because they wanted to scare people who lived there into evacuating. The National Hurricane Center wasn't happy about it, but grudgingly went along with it because the county's rationale sounded reasonable. The problem was, it was a total lie from the first press release, and they knew it. As a result, people who lived in places like northern Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell, and downtown Miami fled SOUTH to the homes of friends and family members... and ended up evacuating INTO the area that was the hardest-hit. NOBODY who remembers Andrew trusts the authorities anymore. It's 80% of the reason why I learned how to run GFS myself and got into stormchasing in the first place... so I could independently run my own sims and do my own fact-checking instead of being forced to take the authorities' word at face value and hope they weren't lying again.

  • "The wave is being considered 'complex' and is believed to have been caused 'the slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey' or a strong storm according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center."

    How is it that they need a center on the West Coast to determine that it was something off the coast of Jersey that caused it?

    Are they spending too much time watching the Jersey Shore and not enough time watching the shore of Jersey?

  • by fredrated (639554) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:52PM (#44114391) Journal

    or are you glad to see me?

  • I'm just a bit fascinated by the components of the word "meteotsunami".

    And would a tsunami with seismic origins be a seismitsunami? Or maybe a geotsunami? Either way, it's not a megatsunami until we've had a million of them.

    • When I saw "Meteotsunami", I first thought that this is a tsunami caused by a large meteorite impact. No, scratch that. It actually sounded a little bit too much like a name of a new Final Fantasy attack combo.
      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        When I saw "Meteotsunami", I first thought that this is a tsunami caused by a large meteorite impact. No, scratch that. It actually sounded a little bit too much like a name of a new Final Fantasy attack combo.

        I don't know about a Meterotsunami, but a Metrotsunami is caused by Poseidon being frustrated by the interface on his new Windows 8 tablet.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Quick, declare it a Federal Disaster Zone so the rest of the country can pay for the damages to the uninsured.

    • Quick, declare it a Federal Disaster Zone so the rest of the country can pay for the damages to the uninsured.

      That area already got $60B of your emotion money.

  • Six foot is *easily* in that range.

                mark

    • This was not a single wave. If you read the article it said the water level dropped for one or two minutes, then came rushing back to the height of six feet.

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