Record wave heights were captured by the Irish Weather Buoy Network during Hurricane Ophelia on Monday causing one of the five weather buoys to break it moorings.
The highest wave was recorded off Waterford at 4pm on Monday when the M5 weather buoy measured a record individual wave of 17.81m and a record significant wave height of 12.97m.
The M5 weather buoy subsequently broke away from its mooring and the Marine Institute coordinated the retrieval process as a matter of urgency. The buoywas recovered yesterday by the MV Puffin of Fastnet Shipping (Waterford) and brought ashore last night.
As Ophelia moved northwards on Monday, the M2 buoy to the east of Dublin also experienced a record significant wave height of 6.64m measured at 6pm on the Irish Weather Buoy Network
Earlier in the day, at 12pm, the M3 buoy, off the South West coast measured an individual wave height of 13.59m, although this was not a record wave for this buoy.
In addition to measuring the waves, the weather buoy network, which is managed by the Marine Institute provides further vital atmospheric (including wind speed) and oceanographic information to support both maritime safety and, importantly in storm events such as Ophelia, help to validate the weather forecast models run by Met Éireann providing guidance to the national emergency planning efforts.
The Irish Weather Buoy Network is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The buoy network also provides operational ocean models, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.