Sandy Sets Record on Lake Michigan

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
November 1, 2012; 4:18 AM ET
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Gale-force winds pound the Grand Haven Lighthouse in Michigan during a prior storm. (Photos.com image)

Sandy produced long-duration, record high waves on lower Lake Michigan earlier this week.

According to the National Weather Service, the highest recorded wave height on the south mid-lake Michigan buoy during Sandy was 21.7 feet, at 11:50 a.m. CDT, Tues., Oct. 30.

This is the second-highest wave height on record, which spans approximately 31 years. The record of 22.9 feet on Sept. 30, 2011 still stands.

While the buoy is not deployed during the late fall and winter it is a remarkable observation for the period spanning the spring, summer and early- to mid-autumn.

While the wave height record was not reached, a high wave duration record has been set.

On Oct. 30, 2012, there were 10 straight hours of recorded waves of 18 feet or greater. The previous record occurred Nov. 10-11, 1998, when there were seven consecutive hours of 18-foot waves.

Prior to Oct. 30, there has only been a combined total of 15 hourly observations of 18-foot or greater waves. This makes the event with Sandy even more extraordinary.

Waves and the winds responsible for the rough waters on Lake Michigan and the lower Great Lakes in general will gradually subside through the remainder of the week as Sandy weakens and moves northward into Canada.

Winds blowing across the lake from north to south for a several-day period contributed to the build-up of waves.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark contributed to the content of this story.

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