In Norfolk, Va., there are several days every year when locals have to drive alternate routes and homeowners watch as rising waters come within inches of their doors because a storm or particularly high tide has sent the sea into the streets. The number of such days is going steadily upward thanks to local land subsidence and global sea level riseMore
If you like waves, Hawaii is your place to be this week.
A heavy swell rocked the North Shore of Maui over the weekend as a series of strong storms swept across the Pacific in another sign of El Niño’s growing influence. Wave heights reached as high as 50 feet, and while the average person would be content to take the scene in from the shore, big wave surfers were out for gold.
The Pe’ahi Challenge took place at the famed Jaws surf break. It’s the first Northern Hemisphere event of the season for the Big Wave Tour. Billy Kemper, a local big wave surfer, took the title of the inaugural competition.
We could tell you all about how awesome and dangerous the swell was, but in this case pictures and videos really are better than words.
— World Surf League (@wsl) December 6, 2015
Shaun Walsh - Airborne.bit.ly/PeahiLIVE
Posted by World Surf League on Sunday, December 6, 2015
If you missed watching the ferocious waves, worry not. The World Surf League has another event set to go off this week on Oahu’s North Shore.
While the cause of the swell surf in Hawaii have been a series of storm systems sweeping across the North Pacific, El Niño also tends to play a role in epic surf along the West Coast and Hawaii.
Teddy Allen, a climate researcher at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and avid surfer, said two factors come together in an El Niño year to create more swells in the North Pacific. One is the warmer waters in the Pacific due to El Niño, which mean there’s more moisture to fuel storms. The other is a southern movement of the polar jet stream, which tends to in turn direct storms further south.
“In essence there is more energy traveling directly to the Hawaii and California coasts,” Allen said.
So don’t worry, there’s definitely more chances to hang ten in the forecast.