That Holiday Bomb Cyclone Made Some Pretty Monstrous Waves Off the California Coast

We’re talking some serious swell.

The bomb cyclone that pounded the West Coast around Thanksgiving not only brought heavy rain and snow but also some of the biggest waves ever recorded off the coast of California. About 20 miles off the coast of Cape Mendocino in Northern California, a gargantuan 75-foot wave was measured according to the University of California, San Diego’s Coastal Data Information Program.

Per The Mercury News, “In the 15 years the program has operated a station in that location, the significant wave height—or the average height of the tallest third of waves that occur over 30 minutes—typically doesn’t exceed 10 feet tall during the winter.

“The 75-footer was the tallest of the waves recorded in that period, which averaged around 43 feet tall. Still, that’s ‘definitely unusual’ for this time of year, program manager James Behrens told CNN.

“‘These kinds of really large waves are usually only detected way out in the middle of the ocean, when winds are being generated,’ he said.

“The program’s buoys had only measured taller waves at one other station, located in the remote North Pacific Ocean where extreme waves are expected to form on occasion, he said.”

Read more about the science behind wave measurement here.