Sailors who regularly pass an area that is subject to violent squalls or thunderstorms are usually aware that squalls exist and might occur. In meteorology there is a group of events called “mesoscale convective systems” that are not covered in many standard metocean studies. This is because they are of short duration (typically peak wind speeds last 5 minutes and the whole event lasts 30 minutes) and small spatial scale and the temporal and spatial resolution of global models and databases is insufficient to identify such events. Measurement data is often also scarce because the typical information stored from a fixed weather station is one 10-minute average wind speed, once an hour.
Plot Showing discontinuity in the distribution of measured wind speeds (but not the model) for wind speeds above 10 m/s. This is an indicator for the possibility of squalls.