NEW JERSEY — Thunderstorms that slammed the region Tuesday were so powerful, they whipped up tsunami-like waves in New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The abnormally high tides, called a “meteotsunami,” lapped the coast from Perth Amboy in New Jersey to Delaware’s Fenwick Island, the NWS said.
Unlike typical tsunamis, which are large ocean waves primarily triggered by earthquakes, meteotsunamis do not occur because of seismic activity and are generally smaller than their quake-created counterparts, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Instead, they’re “weather-generated” and are produced by exceptionally strong storms.
“Meteotsunamis are driven by air-pressure disturbances often associated with fast-moving weather events, such as severe thunderstorms, squalls, and other storm fronts,” NOAA said.
It is not yet known how high Tuesday’s meteotsunamis were.
These types of waves are capable of reaching 6 feet or higher and occur around the world, including in the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic Coast, and in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas.