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5/24/2007

Unusual high-tides indicate another tsunami

May 23, 2007
Port Blair: The abnormal rise in sea-level during high-tides in the last three days has re-opened the tsunami scars of thousands on the Islands of Andaman and Nicobar. However, officials have failed to provide any concrete data regarding this. This UNUSUAL PHENOMENON has left huge heaps of sand deposited in front of houses and hotels nearby, causing problems for the people. "The coastal road is overloaded with sea sand of nearly one meter height." After getting similar reports from Phuket and Bangkok, people in tsunami hit Car Nicobar Islands feared this as an indication of another disaster, but local administration dismissed it, saying everything was normal. However, the Port Management Board Harbour Master said that there might be three main reasons - monsoon, change in the beach profile after the tsunami and the timing of tides coinciding with office timings. "This is normal after heavy monsoon as water from hilly areas mix up with seawater which raises the sea level." Normally reading of high-tides in these Islands is 1.8 to 1.9 meters but during monsoon and full moon nights, the reading goes up to 2.4 meters. In this case monsoon and full-moon came together. The waves smashed into the premises of a few restaurants along coastal areas on May 19 and 20, overturning tables and chairs. The National Institute of Ocean Technology had installed nearly 15 tide gauges across the country to measure tidal variations, but officials failed to provide any reading behind this ABNORMAL rise of tide level. "We have readings of rise in the wave height of sea but not of tides. Due to Southwest monsoon, the wave heights are higher and the beach profile of Andaman has already changed which can be the reason behind this." Apart from the changes in the beach profile, many believe that Sea Walls had prevented seawater entry in these places, thereby forcing the sea to flood other adjacent areas. Massive Sea walls have been constructed in various places of South Andaman to reclaim land, inundated by seawater after the tsunami due to tilting of the land mass. The project, Post Seismic Relaxation in Andaman and Nicobar, had already recorded a tilt of four-and-a-half metres along the North-South belt of the 572 island conglomerate in the Indian Ocean and an East-West tilt of two-and-a-half metres, explaining why most of the 1700 hectares of paddy fields in Port Blair's eastern coast were still submerged in water. People and fishermen have not ventured into the sea during the last few days, fearing another disastrous tsunami.

FREAK WAVES/ HIGH TIDES
Mentawai Islands, off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia - Thursday, May 17 & Friday, May 18, has seen an amazing 20-25 feet plus swell hit the Mentawai Island chain. A number of surfers ventured out and scored some of the most epic barrels of their lives. "On Thursday, there was a set of at least 9 waves that were maxing 20 feet - but absolutely perfect...some of the most amazing waves I've ever seen. They were every bit of 25 feet. Just wish I had a camera! " Not everyone was so lucky though. The local villagers of Katiet were swamped by the swell which combined with a seasonal Monsoonal King Tide and has left their village under 0.5 metres of water. "This is the first time we have had so much water in the village. Normally we get a little but spend our time watching the surfers in the big waves. This time, we were too busy to watch as we were bailing out the water. " A resort owner was amazed at the size of the swell. "I've never seen anything like this first hand. The surf was massive."

SPAIN
- A quiet holiday in Alicante, Spain ended in tragedy for a British couple when they were swallowed up by a FREAK WAVE, sucked out to sea and one of them drowned. It was before lunchtime on Friday, May 18, when they were walking from the water after a swim in the sea at Cala Estaca beach when a freak wave sucked them under the water and pulled them both out to sea. The woman was able to free herself from the water, however, the 21-year-old male was unable to extricate himself and tragically drowned.
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