Straight from the Tap

Buoys May Record Biggest Waves of the Season


Cleveland Water will be watching returns come in tonight. Returns from our monitoring buoys that is.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Gale Warning for Lake Erie waters, which is in effect from 1 p.m. this afternoon to 5 a.m. Wednesday due to the risk of sustained surface winds with speeds from 35 to 45 knots (39 to 52 miles per hour).

The wind is predicted to cause significant wave heights that range from 7 to 11 feet, with the size of waves getting bigger throughout the day and occasional 14-foot waves by tonight. Significant wave height is the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves. Occasional wave height is the average of the highest 1/10 of the waves.

Cleveland Water’s nearshore buoy measures many parameters including significant wave height. Today’s wind storm may cause the largest wave event that our buoys capture this year before they are taken out of the water for the winter. The highest significant waves recorded this season so far were 10.25 feet and occurred around 9 p.m. on October 20. 

You can view the buoy data in near real-time here: To watch today’s waves, click the small graph to the left of the words “Significant Wave Height” on the buoy page or click here: WVHGT.

What Waves Mean to Cleveland Water

When Lake Erie is rocking, increased turbidity can come knocking at our water treatment plants’ front doors. Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles of sediment that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in the air.

Our water treatment plant operators will be on the lookout for increased turbidity and, if necessary, adjust the water treatment process accordingly to ensure turbidity is removed. Water coming out of your tap will not be impacted and will remain clean and safe to drink.