Five-foot tsunami strikes Spanish resorts in Majorca and Menorca deluging roads and flooding beach bars and terraces

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A five-foot tsunami has hit tourist beaches in parts of Majorca and Menorca. A wave measuring almost five feet hit Ciutadella on the west coast of Menorca in the early hours of Monday morning. Nearby beaches were also flooded by the meteotsunami, called a rissaga in Catalan Spanish. These are large, tsunami-like waves are triggered by disturbances in air pressure caused by fast-moving weather events, like thunderstorms.

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meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
Wave measuring five feet hit Ciutadella on west coast of Menorca on Monday
meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
The freak weather phenomenon also affected holiday resorts in Majorca

The freak weather phenomenon also affected holiday resorts in Majorca, with seawater flooding bars and terraces by the coast in Andratx and covering beachside roads.

Andrew Sibley, of the Met Office, said: ‘In certain conditions thunderstorms can trigger a phenomenon known as a meteotsunami, particularly in areas where the depth of the sea is sufficient to amplify wave height through resonance. The updrafts and downdrafts within a thunderstorm can create small and short-lived pressure changes, leading to initially small sea waves.

meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
The huge wave has been identified as a meteotsunami, which is caused by disturbances in air pressure at sea
meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
Boat owners on Majorca’s south west coast were filmed trying to save their boats

These waves can then be amplified dramatically by resonance between the speed of the thunderstorm system and the speed of the wave if they are in phase. The speed of the sea wave is related to the sea depth. Such waves can also be funneled by coastal bays, estuaries and inlets. Meteotsunamis have been observed globally, including around the coast of Britain, but some regions like the Mediterranean are more susceptible.

meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
Meteotsunamis, also known as meteorological tsunamis, are tsunami-like waves generated by rapid changes in barometric pressure, typically caused by severe thunderstorms
meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
The regions were flooded by a meteotsunami, called a rissaga in Catalan Spanish

Boat owners in the resort on Majorca’s south west coast were filmed desperately trying to protect their boats, with the footage shared widely on social media. The strong current broke the ropes of a historic sailing boat used by the Majorca Island Council, which had to be rescued by sailors and brought back to port as it drifted out to sea.

There were no reports of any injuries and the meteotsunami occurred when the beaches were largely empty before holidaymakers started to arrive for their daily dose of sun.

Meteotsunamis, also known as meteorological tsunamis, are tsunami-like waves generated by rapid changes in barometric pressure. Scientists are only beginning to understand the meteorological phenomenon.

meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
There have been no reports of any injuries as a result of the meteotsunami, which occurred in the early hours when the streets and beaches were still largely empty
meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018pictures, meteotsunami majorca menorca july 2018 video
Seawater flooded bars by the coast in Andratx, and covered beachside roads

Meteotsunamis have been observed in a number of places around the world, including the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Coast.

A meteotsunami that struck Nagasaki Bay, on the island of Kyūshū in March 1979 killed three people. Last summer, one of the towering waves was filming crashing into the Netherlands, catching beachgoers off guard.

Identifying a meteotsunami presents a unique set of challenges to scientists, since the characteristics of these waves are so similar to other meteorological phenomenon, including tsunamis.

Meteotsunamis can also easily be confused with a wind-driven storm surge or a seiche, which is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water.

According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), these uncertainties make it difficult to predict a meteotsunami and warn the public of a potential event.

However, scientists are working to pinpoint the exact atmospheric conditions which are most likely to generate a meteotsunami in an effort to improve advance warnings.

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Twitter – Rissaga de més d’un metre a Alcúdia i Ciutadella. El passeig d’Alcúdia ha quedat totalment negat a primera hora
IB3 – Rissaga de més d’un metre a Alcúdia i Ciutadella. El fenomen també s’ha produït a altres indrets de Mallorca, com el port d’Alcudia i el port d’Andratx
Daily Mail – Five-foot TSUNAMI strikes Spanish resorts in Majorca and Menorca deluging roads and flooding beach bars and terraces

31 COMMENTS

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