Friday, September 22, 2006
Winds spark rogue 19.5m wave off Tassie
Friday Sep 22 16:32 AEST
Gale force winds have produced a massive 19.5-metre wave off the coast of Tasmania, according to surf forecasters.
The rogue wave was recorded about 9am (AEST) on Thursday and is believed to be one of the largest ever measured in Australia, forecasters say.
Swellnet website forecaster Ben Matson said a waverider buoy located 10 kilometres from Cape Sorell, on Tasmania's west coast, recorded a wave peaking at a height of 19.5 metres (64 foot) as westerly winds crossed the coastline.
"Large swells are common in the Southern Ocean at this time of year but wave heights of this magnitude are extremely rare."
Mr Matson said waves of that size had the potential to cause significant damage to ships and had been known to "send oil tankers to the bottom of the ocean" in other parts of the world.
Forecasters were currently examining old data but Mr Matson said the wave could be the largest ever measured in the country.
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