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Rare meteotsunami hits Florida, floods beaches

Naples pier closed 12-21-18 4.jpg
Naples pier closed 12-21-18 6.jpg
Posted at 6:50 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 11:15:34-05

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Scientists say Florida has been it hit by a rare meteotsunami that caused water levels to jump and sent beachgoers running from oncoming waves.

The Naples Daily News reports air pressure disturbances and quick-moving storms caused the meteotsunami last week. The phenomenon shouldn't be confused with tsunamis, which are caused by earthquakes and other seismic activity.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Fisher says temperatures dropped roughly 10 degrees in southwest Florida as barometric pressure momentarily rose by 1.6 millibars.

The wave heights, which were projected to be around 1.7 feet (0.5 meters), reached 5 feet (1.5 meters) before decreasing. Wind gusts spiked at 54 mph (87 kph) as a storm brought heavy rains and tornado warnings to the Naples area.

The meteotsunami didn't cause significant flooding.

Watch: Big wave washes across Sanibel property

Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News,

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