Giant Ocean Waves Are Coming For San Francisco

( San Francisco had received reports of giant waves and high-speed winds coming to the coastal city, according to Newsweek. Waves of up to 19 feet were reportedly forecasted for last week, but ultimately the city saw waves as high as 10 feet, which is roughly as tall as a UHaul truck.

“A number of factors can cause large waves like those forecast for San Francisco this week,” Shane Keating, an ocean fluid dynamicist at UNSW Sydney, in Australia, told Newsweek.

“Storms and atmospheric fronts create large swells that can travel tens of thousands of kilometers across the ocean. When these waves reach the shore, they slow down, causing energy to pile up and the wave to suddenly grow in height. Large waves can also be created by winds, currents, or focusing by the seabed shape,” he said.

Areas closest to the coast are more at risk of being impacted by large waves caused by these storms and atmospheric fronts. Houses built along dunes and low areas are especially at risk, according to Javier Leon a senior lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

“Large waves, especially when combined with strong winds, can raise the normal water levels and erode beaches and dunes. This can be a serious issue, particularly when houses/infrastructure are built on dunes or low areas. Large waves move a lot of sand and in some cases, they can also bring sand from deeper waters to the shore,” he said.

Over one million homes were similarly impacted in this way in early October as Hurricane Ian made its way across the coast of Florida, according to the outlet. Roughly 1.26 million households of the 1.8 million along the coast were without flood coverage.

The outlet reported that the largest wave in the state occurred in 1958 after a landslide in Alaska’s Lituya Bay caused a 1,719 feet high tsunami. The largest open-water wave was recorded at 62.3 feet high in the North Atlantic Ocean in 2013.