Queen Elizabeth 2 Hurricane Luis 95 Foot Wave Damage – On September 11, 1995, as Hurricane Luis (see video below) churned the Gulf and later the Atlantic Ocean, the seas became unfit for fish or man aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 after a 95-foot-high waves smashed the cruise ship. She was on Trans Atlantic Voyage Number 1014, Westbound from Southampton and Cherbourg to New York City. The vessel disembarked on September 7 set to arrive in New York on September 12.
The ship was slammed by a 95 foot high wave, followed by two smaller waves. The captain, Captain Warwick, reported winds to 130 miles per hour with average wave heights of 40 feet.
The 95 foot wave hit as most passengers were asleep in their beds, those who could sleep being tossed all night, at 0410 hours (4:10am)
The captain had changed course to avoid the hurricane, but the storm had created high seas, with huge swells over a wide area. Even though the swells were high, the captain and crew on the bridge say they were not hit by a swell, but instead a rogue wave.
The captain said, “At 0410 the rogue wave was sighted right ahead, looming out of the darkness from 220°, it looked as though the ship was heading straight for the white cliffs of Dover. The wave seemed to take ages to arrive but it was probably less than a minute before it broke with tremendous force over the bow. An incredible shudder went through the ship, followed a few minutes later by two smaller shudders. There seemed to be two waves in succession as the ship fell into the ‘hole’ behind the first one. The second wave of 28-29 m (period 13 seconds), whilst breaking, crashed over the foredeck, carrying away the forward whistle mast.”
The presence of extreme waves was also recorded by Canadian weather buoys moored in the area, and the maximum measured height from buoy 44141 was 30 meters (98 feet.). This further verified the captain’s report.
While this wave was huge, it was nothing compare to predicted waves of the future.
Scientists predict that if a future volcanic eruption sends a large part of the island of La Palma in the Canaries into the sea, it could cause a wall of water 2,950ft high.
Hurricane Luis was a long-lived and powerful Cape Verde hurricane, as well as one of the strongest, deadliest, and most notable hurricanes of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) – which would be tied with Opal later that year but surpassed it by minimum pressure. Luis was also the strongest hurricane to make landfall, and the third-most intense hurricane recorded during the extremely active season.
The storm was the twelfth tropical storm, sixth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season. At one point, the storm was one of four simultaneous tropical systems in the Atlantic basin, along with Humberto, Iris, and Karen. The storm lasted for 14 days as a tropical storm between late August and mid-September.
A large and powerful hurricane, Luis retained Category 4 intensity until September 7, while situated about 150 mi (240 km) to the north of Puerto Rico.
The storm gradually re-curved over the northern Atlantic as a Category 2 storm, after having spent 7 consecutive days as a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of at least 115 mph (185 km/h), from September 1 to 8.
Video: TWC Hurricane Luis coverage 1995