Waves of 11 meter significant height create havoc in Galicia as fierce storms from the Atlantic reach Spain’s Northwestern coast.

Posted by on mar 1, 2017 in Latest News, News | No Comments
Giant waves at the coast of Muxia (Galicia)

The first severe winter storm entered the Iberian Peninsula during the 2nd of February 2017 from the Atlantic through the northwestern region of Galicia. The region was put in red alert by Spain’s Civil Protection Agency as winds of up to 130 km/h battered the coast and sea level raised between 0.4 and 0.5m on top of the high tide. The storm caused two deaths and dozens of injured people only in Galicia and brought down electricity supply lines leaving more than 100,000 homes without power supply.

Intense winds, prompted by a jet stream high in the atmosphere, whipped up the waves all around the northern coast of Spain. Traditionally, moored buoys have been the most complete and reliable instruments for monitoring sea waves. Unfortunately, one of the main limitations of buoys is that they are located inside the water moored at a specific depth, which make its operation and maintenance difficult and expensive.

Galicia has an ocean observing network that is made up of four 5 MHz long range SeaSonde HF radar stations located in land that provide real time surface currents and wave information from Silleiro in the South close to the border with Portugal to Prior in the North (280 km or 75 % of Galicia coast) and with a range of measurement of up to 200 km from the coast for currents. The network is jointly operated by the Spanish National Port Authority PUERTOS DEL ESTADO and the Technological institute INTECMAR which is part of the Galician Government.

The SeaSonde HF radar station located at Cape Silleiro (Galicia) measured significant waveheights of up to 10.66 m during the 2nd of February 2017. These waves data delivered by a land based technology were in very good agreement with measurements made by the deep water wave buoy operated by Puertos del Estado which is located 45 km offshore in front of Silleiro.

Location of Silleiro wave buoy and HF radar station
Significant waveheights measured by Silleiro HF radar (top) and Silleiro wave buoy (bottom)