John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Time to get off the beach?
Folks headed out for a Sunday swim at the Jersey Shore might’ve wanted to turn back pretty quick when faced with this, a seeming tsunami about to crash onto land:
Were earthquake professionals so busy watching San Andreas that they missed the looming threat back East? Thankfully not—the towering wall, photographed by the Sea Girt beach patrol, was made only of fog generated by balmy air moving over cool water. The National Weather Service office in Philadelphia/Mount Holly shares this explanation, along with a satellite image of the fog bank’s impressive length:
Had the ghost tsunami engulfed the coast, the worst that might’ve happened would be difficult driving and people getting goosebumps. One dude on Facebook remembers encountering a similar formation last summer in Ocean City. “Kept rolling in and off the beach,” he says. “Probably a 15 degree temp change with it.”