Weather News

Jun 26, 2013 10:14 AM by Stephen Bowers

East coast tsunami may have happened

Usually when we hear about tsunamis, we think about the massive ocean waves that bring devastation to areas like Japan, or Alaska, or even Chile.

A report from NBC News, however, shows that a tsunami may have hit the U.S. East Coast earlier in June. According to the report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, observed tsunami-like conditions at over 30 tide gauges along the East Coast of the U.S. from Massachusetts to North Carolina as well as in Bermuda and Puerto Rico. The highest wave amplitude of just under a foot above sea level was recorded at Newport, Rhode Island. Similar measurements were taken from New Jersey and Virginia.

Mike Angove, the head of NOAA's tsunami program, says in the report that there are very small signs, but would not go as far as saying the event was in fact a tsunami. He said that water was reportedly "drawn out" to see before larger waves rushed in, and that is a characteristic common to tsunamis. He hopes to send out a ship equipped with sonar to determine whether an underwater landslide generated the change in water levels.

Some say the waves may have been that of a "meteotsunami," which is a rare weather-induced tsunami. A strong storm system was affecting the offshore areas that day, and NOAA is also working to determine whether it played a role.

Minor damage was reported as a result of the increased waves, and at least two people were treated for injuries.

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