12 March 2013
When The Waves Turn The Minutes To Hours
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Last weeks big Nor’easter dumped very heavy snow in New England and it brought unusually high winds to the East Coast. From Norfolk to Boston. One of the NOAA buoys located 26 miles SE of Cape May New Jersey, or about 20 nautical miles off of Fenwick Island in Delaware, recorded the second highest waves on it’s record.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
510 PM EST SAT MAR 09 2013
…DELAWARE BAY BUOY RECORDS ITS SECOND HIGHEST WAVES ON MARCH 6TH
THE COASTAL STORM THAT LASHED PORTIONS OF THE NEW JERSEY AND
DELAWARE COASTS WITH 60 TO 70 MPH NORTHEAST WIND GUSTS ALSO RAISED
SEAS TO A MAXIMUM HEIGHT OF 25.6 FEET AT BUOY 44009…LOCATED ABOUT
26 NAUTICAL MILES SOUTHEAST OF CAPE MAY NEW JERSEY. THIS OCCURRED AT
ABOUT 550 PM ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 6 2013.
THE SEAS CONTINUED TO FLUCTUATE…OCCASIONALLY JUST ABOVE 24 FEET
INTO LATE WEDNESDAY EVENING. THESE SEAS WERE HIGHER THAN RECORDED
DURING SANDY OF THIS PAST OCTOBER 29 2012.
IN FACT…THIS WAS THE SECOND HIGHEST WAVE HEIGHT AT THIS BUOY
LOCATION WITHIN THE AVAILABLE DATA…DATING BACK TO 1984.
THE HIGHEST WAS 26.6 FEET ON NOVEMBER 13, 2009.
THE THIRD HIGHEST WAS 25.2 FEET RECORDED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2003.
A fishing boat went down during the storm off of Assateague Island in Maryland, and two hands were lost. The lone survivor said a giant rogue wave did them in.
Forecasting wave height depends on three main factors.
1.Wind Speed (Self explanatory I think.)
2. Fetch (The distance across water the wind blows)
3. Duration (Length of time the winds blow across the fetch of water.)
At a certain point you reach a maximum wave height where additional wind, fetch, or duration does not matter, but constructive interference between waves can cause rogue waves that are much higher. Storm Warnings were in effect for the area, and were broadcast widely on air and online. I cannot for the life of me understand why this boat put to sea…
Note: The title of this post is credited to Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot, and his song The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald– “Does anyone know where the love of God, goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours…”
Dan, Thanks,,, this is the kind of weather facts I like to hear ……Joe Lieb