The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a small tsunami struck the East Coast earlier this month.
In North Kingstown, Rhode Island, witnesses described an exceptionally strong current running through the channel into Narragansett Bay.
According to NOAA, the tsunami was observed at more than 30 tide gauges along the East Coast, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. Its highest peak amplitude was recorded in Newport, Rhode Island, which registered the tsunami at nearly a foot above sea level.
In Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, Brian Coen was spearfishing when he noticed a strong outrush of water with the tide that carried divers over a submerged breakwater. The breakwater, normally 3 or 4 feet deep, was soon exposed. He then saw a large wave, roughly 6 feet peak-to-trough and spanning across the inlet, rushing in. The surge carried the divers back over the breakwater and into the inlet. NOAA officials also reported three people on the south jetty were swept off rocks that were 5 to 6 feet above sea level at the time. Two of the people required medical attention.
In North Kingstown, Rhode Island, witnesses described an exceptionally strong current running through the channel into Narragansett Bay. The current was so strong that one large boat pulled its cleat out of the dock at the Wickford Yacht Club.
Officials say the cause of the tsunami is being reviewed, but they believe it may have been triggered by a strong weather system moving through the area. They say it’s also possible the slumping of the continental shelf east of New Jersey may have played a role.
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