Freaky Meteotsunami Tosses Parked Cars Around at Brazilian Beach

Sunbathers, swimmers and casual visitors at the world’s longest beach, the Praia do Cassino (literally Casino Beach) in Rio Grande, Brazil, were captured by surprise this past Sunday when a bizarre natural phenomenon known as a Meteorological Tsunami, Meteotsunami or simply, weather-induced tsunami, hit the area.

It caused the sea to swell and spill out a wave that reached all the way up to the parking spots (…or at least where people had parked their rides, possibly too close to the beach), and while humans escaped unscathed, their belongings, including dozens of vehicles, were damaged, as the body of water tossed the cars around on the sand.

According to locals, this isn’t the first time that such a tsunami has been observed in the area.

Now, if you too are pondering about what a Meteotsunami is, here’s a description from UNESCO (alternatively, you can visit this PDF page for a more detailed analysis from a University paper) :

Meteorological tsunami (meteotsunami)

“Tsunami-like phenomena generated by meteorological or atmospheric disturbances. These waves can be produced by atmospheric gravity waves, pressure jumps, frontal passages, squalls, gales, typhoons, hurricanes and other atmospheric sources.”

“Meteotsunamis have the same temporal and spatial scales as tsunami waves and can similarly devastate coastal areas, especially in bays and inlets with strong amplification and well-defined resonant properties.”

By John Halas


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