Author Topic: Lake Erie tidal waves  (Read 8555 times)

Offline Goon

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Lake Erie tidal waves
« on: 08/21/09, 09:09 »
Is there such a thing? While fishing 8 miles from shore, I saw a wave that had a solid long crest, that went on for as far as I could see. It was rolling against the actual waves. The normal waves that day were 1-3 feet. Any ideas out there? Thankz.

Offline Tory Gabriel, Ohio Sea Grant

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Re: Lake Erie tidal waves
« Reply #1 on: 08/22/09, 11:25 »
Hi Goon,

There aren't "tidal waves" in Lake Erie, but we do get something called a seiche.  When the wind blows from one direction for a long period of time, the water levels can change pretty drastically.  With a strong west wind, for instance, the water level would rise in Buffalo and drop in Toledo.  Usually this is a slow process, but there are reports of waves brought about by a seiche that have happened so suddenly that it swept people off of piers.  These instances are rare though, and probably the result of storms.  Since the seiche is effected by the wind it is likely to be headed in the same direction as the waves, so if what you saw was in fact rolling against the waves it's hard to tell what it was.  You didn't happen to see the Jet Express fly by just ahead of the roller, did ya?   ;)

Offline Goon

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Re: Lake Erie tidal waves
« Reply #2 on: 08/26/09, 05:58 »
I have done some research on the web. Nothing fits the situation that my fishing buddy and I saw that day. The small crested wave was going against the actual waves and winds, @50 deg. angle. The height of the small, forever crested wave was @4-6 inches. Thankz for the reply. I hope I can let this go if I do not find an answer. :'(

Offline Fred Snyder, Ohio Sea Grant Extension

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Re: Lake Erie tidal waves
« Reply #3 on: 08/26/09, 12:29 »
Goon,

There are many meteorologic factors that can cause strange phenomena on the lake. One that happens frequently is the passage of small, low air pressure cells across the lake's surface. this can cause an upwelling of the surface elevation beneath the low while surrounding higher pressure areas, perhaps miles away, exert a downward force on the lake's surface.

We've seen instances where this effect has caused cold water upwellings in the Central Basin.  We'll never know for sure what caused the wave you saw, but this air pressure effect is an example of one possible, realistic source.

Offline creekcrawler

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Re: Lake Erie tidal waves
« Reply #4 on: 08/27/09, 11:47 »
Me and a bud got hit by a wave off Cleveland fishing one night years ago. It was perpendicular to the other waves.
Luckily, my bud saw it coming. It hit us dead broadside and it had to be 8-10feet high, we both moved to the center of the boat.
Waves were calm, like 1-2 feet that night and it definitely wasn't a boat wake.
We laugh about it now.
In a thick Irish brogue - "Aye captain,it's a rrrrrogue wave!"

Offline Goon

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Re: Lake Erie tidal waves
« Reply #5 on: 08/28/09, 09:50 »
Thankz Fred. I think your explanation fits the bill, at least for me. It does make sense. This is a great site. Will be using it more in the future. Once again, thankz.
                                                                                                             Goon