Cause of sudden flooding identified

04.07.2019 - 18:43
Cause of sudden flooding identified
The flash flood on Sunday morning was caused by rapid changes in barometric pressure

A sudden and very rapid tidal change occurred on Sunday morning causing flash floods across the country.

After checking for, and subsequently ruling out, earthquakes and underwater landslides as possible causes, geologists found the cause to be small tidal waves caused by rapid changes in barometric pressure, in this case predominantly low pressure.


This phenomenon is also known as a meteotsunami or a meteorological tsunami, which is a tsunami-like sea wave of meteorological origin. Unlike "ordinary" impulse-type tsunami sources, a traveling atmospheric disturbance normally interacts with the ocean over a limited time, from several minutes to several hours.

Lis Mortensen, a geologist at Jarðfeingi, the Faroese Geological Survey, explains that the recent thunderstorms which mainly hit Suðuroy caused instability in the barometric pressure, causing a great deal of local low pressure.

High pressure pushes the sea water down, while low pressure pushes it upwards, and this oscillation is most likely what caused the flash floods on Sunday morning. No serious damage was caused by the floods.


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