What Is An Ocean Swell?
SEATTLE - A common marine forecast on the ocean could read "wind waves 3-4 feet, west swell at 10 feet."
So what is a swell? Even on the calmest days, storms raging elsewhere on the ocean create rolling waves that radiate away from the storm. These are called swells, and they can increase as storms intensify and near the coast.
A reported 10 foot swell means the water rolls up 5 feet above the flat level, and then the other side's base is 5 feet lower making for a total of a 10-foot swell.
Wind waves are, as the name suggests, the waves that are caused by current winds. A 3-4 foot wind wave would be on top of the current swell.
Some swells can reach over 30 feet along the Washington coast in the winter time when a strong storm is in the area.
Looking north from Duvall around 5pm, double rainbow after a strong cell moved through.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime shot of a brilliant sunrise on the water of Poulsbo. When I saw the pink light streaming into my window early that morning, I ran outside to capture this photo. Once I saw the photo, I realized that the sunrise created a fire and ice effect that was stunning.
Driving toward Silverdale on Hwy 3, from brilliant fall sunshine, into this churning black storm, was unlike anything I've witnessed in Washington. Sheets of rain, gusts of wind, and a completely black sky overtook the area, while the periphery stayed sunny.