In the midst of the severe thunderstorms that battered the Northeast on Tuesday afternoon, the New Jersey coast was struck by a small tsunami, according to the National Weather Service.
The Weather Service noted that meteotsunamis are different from storm surge, which happens when strong winds push water ashore, causing water to steadily rise, a common phenomenon during coastal storms in New England. Hundreds of reports of downed power lines, crushed cars and damaged homes came into the U.S.
Recent East Coast meteotsunamis include one in June 2013 where, on a clear, calm day, waves crashed upon the coasts of southern MA and New Jersey, where three people were injured and an October 2008 incident in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, when a series of waves up to 12 feet high damaged boats and shoreline infrastructure, the weather service said. "You can see the meteotsunami in the water fluctuations from area tidal gauges, especially in the New Haven gauge". Most meteotsunamis are too small to notice.
Last night's powerful storms resulted in at least five deaths and left thousands of customers without power into Wednesday. An 11-year-old NY girl was killed when a large tree toppled onto the auto she was in. Several lightning strikes led to structure fires in New Jersey and MA.
Airlines also canceled and delayed flights in and out of the region.