Wednesday 23 January 2019

Tourist beaches in Mallorca and Menorca hit by 'tsunami-like' five-foot waves

Boats came detached from moorings while restaurants and roads flooded after freak weather phenomenon smashes Balearic islands

A MINI-tsunami has hit tourist beaches in parts of Majorca and Menorca: Solarpix
A MINI-tsunami has hit tourist beaches in parts of Majorca and Menorca: Solarpix

Lucy Pasha-Robinson

“Tsunami-like” waves have hit the coasts of Spanish tourist hotspots Mallorca and Menorca.

A freak wave was seen smashing into the boardwalk at Puerto de Alcudia in Mallorca, flooding restaurants and covering beachside roads.

On the west coast of Menorca waves measuring almost five feet crashed into tourist beaches, according to local media reports.

A wall of water hit the port city of Cituadella in Menorca on Monday, causing widespread flooding.

In Mallorca, boats were detached from their ropes and dragged around the port by strong currents.

The phenomenon is known as a “meteotsunami“ and is caused by rapid changes in barometric pressure resulting in a sudden displacement of a body of water.

Spain’s meteorological agency, Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, issued a yellow warning on Sunday in Ciutadella, which was increased to an orange alert on Monday, signifying a very high risk of meteotsunamis. ​

The tsunami-like waves have characteristics similar to earthquake-generated tsunamis, according to the US National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, but are caused by air pressure disturbances often associated with fast moving weather systems.

These changes in air pressure can cause waves to travel at the same speed as the overhead weather system.

The last meteotsunami to be reported in Ciutadella was on the 10 June, but it measured just 55 centimetres, according to local media reports.

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