Giant 20-metre high wave off Donegal


The highest wave ever recorded in Irish waters formed off the coast of Donegal this afternoon, according to Met Éireann.

The M4 weather buoy, positioned approximately 16km west of Rossan Point, recorded a maximum wave height of 20.4 metres or 67 feet.

The maximum wave height, recorded just after 2pm, was the highest ever recorded in Irish waters, the forecaster said on its website.

The new record toppled an earlier record wave recorded at the buoy between 11am and noon today.

“There was a record wave of 20.2 metres earlier but it didn’t last very long,” a spokesman from Met Éireann said.

“The previous record was something like 16 metres so it’s a significant jump in magnitude.”

“These are relatively new buoys that can do this. I don’t think we would have records going back a long time – so it’s a record but it’s a relatively new measurement system. It’s not like some of our temperature records that go back over 150 years but certainly it’s exceptional."

Met Éireann said a storm passing to the North of Ireland coupled with westerly winds feeding in behind it are likely to have created the record wave.

“If you get a long stream of strong winds from the same direction, you get waves building up. Often, it’s to do with the fact that the wind direction is quite consistent so it keeps building up and up. It’s possibly been building up over the last few days.”

Earlier, the forecasters issued a severe weather alert with a warning of blizzard-like conditions hitting the country.

Met Éireann said high winds and sleet and snow showers are expected to affect even low-lying areas throughout the day. Drivers have been warned to take extra care on the roads, particularly after dark tonight when temperatures fall to at least minus two degrees.

Winds fluctuating from gale force to storm force have been hitting coastal areas from early morning. This afternoon winds are expected moderate but gusts of up to 140km/hr are still expected in places, particularly the north coast.

The Road Safety Authority has advised there is a danger of branches of trees and other debris being blown onto roads. It said motorcyclists, cyclists and high sided vehicles should take particular care. Those intending to travel should stay tuned to the latest traffic and weather bulletins and heed the advice of gardaí, the authority said.

A pedestrian in his 30s was killed in a traffic incident in north Cork yesterday afternoon. The man was fatally injured when he was struck by a car at Newtwopothouse between Mallow and Buttevant on the main Cork-Limerick road shortly after 4pm.

The outlook for the coming days is for further wintery conditions with falls of hail, sleet and snow expected especially on hills but also at some low levels also with icy patches, particularly after dark. The wintery showers are set to continue overnight with falls of sleet or snow.