Thunderstorms eject gusty winds that increase in speed, causing damage. They are identified as gust fronts. Wind gusts ahead of a heavy, localized line of storms, on a body of water, create a shallow-water gravity wave often forced by a squall line. This scenario describes a rogue wave.
In 1984, a 117-foot, three-masted ship sank in less than a minute north of Bermuda because of a rogue wave. A cargo ship’s support beams were bent like matchsticks from a similar wave on the North Pacific in February.
Another struck Daytona Beach on July 3, 1992, with an 18-foot water wall, injuring 75 and smashing hundreds of cars. On Wednesday, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., a wave capsized a yacht carrying 24 passengers; three children, below deck, died. Fastcast: Showers.