Gigantic 17-Meter Significant Wave Heights Forecast for NW Pacific Ship Lanes

Mike Schuler
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January 19, 2018

A rapidly developing storm low is forecast off the coast of Japan January 22nd-23rd with storm to hurricane-force winds and significant wave heights to 17 meters, or about 56 Feet.

This will be a dangerous storm affecting ships arriving and departing Japan, according to Ocean Weather Services, a provider of marine weather routing to the shipping industry. 

While wave heights of this magnitude are not exactly rare, they are not that common either, typically occurring a few times per season over both the north Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Last October, a hurricane-force low-pressure system in the northwestern Pacific Ocean generated massive heights which measured in at over 17.6 meters (that’s nearly 58 feet!). The highest significant wave height ever recorded was 19 meters (62.3 feet!), as measured by a buoy in the North Atlantic in 2013 and confirmed as a new world record in 2016 by the World Meteorological Organization. 

Keep in mind, significant wave height is the average height of the highest one-third of waves, so individual wave heights are likely much taller!

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