Anything but Smooth Sailing in Hurricane Force Winds

  • Feb 16, 2016

Cruise-goers from New Jersey got more than they bargained for when their Royal Caribbean Ship, Anthem of the Seas, sailed straight into a strong storm system off the coast of the Carolinas on 8 February 2016.

The ship was headed the Bahamas but was forced to turn back towards NJ after a storm approaching from the south rocked the ship with hurricane force winds, sending approximately 6,000 cruise-goers to their staterooms for safety.

The above video shows the path of the lightning moving northeast over the Atlantic Ocean. Notice the high density of both purple and yellow lightning strikes from around 4-10pm UTC. The severity of the lightning compares to the intensity of the sea, where the gusts of 76mph winds sent 30-40 waves crashing into the cruise liner for hours overnight.


Earth Networks Total Lightning Network sent out a Dangerous Thunderstorm Alert (or DTA) before the lightning and strong storm cells made contact with the ship. The purple polygon in the above photo represents one our alerts. DTA’s are 50% faster, on average, than other alerts for potentially dangerous conditions like the heavy rains and high winds that impacted The Anthem of the Seas. 4 people sustained minor injuries during the storm.

After seeing comments, pictures, and videos like the ones below being posted to social media accounts, the United States Coast Guard stepped in and contacted the Royal Caribbean ship to monitor the situation.