High surf advisory in effect for parts of eastern Caribbean

High surf advisory in effect for parts of eastern Caribbean
High surf (Photo credit: iStock)
High surf (Photo credit: iStock)

The Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service has announced that a high surf advisory is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The advisory is until Thursday morning for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, at which time a high surf warning will go into effect until Friday for these islands, and until Sunday for Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis.

The met service explains that moderate long-period swells are reaching the area and affecting mainly the northern, north-facing and eastern coastlines. The threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those using the affected coastlines is moderate.

It said these swells could cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents on affected coastlines.

A high surf advisory means that dangerous surfs of 2 to 3 metres or 6 to 10 feet will affect some coastlines in the advisory area, producing hazardous conditions.

Seas (significant wave heights): 1.8 to 2.7 metres (6 to 9 feet), occasionally or locally reaching near 3.5 metres (11 feet).  Swell period: 9 to 14 seconds.

Swells: Variable directions at 1.5 to 2.1 metres (5 to 7 feet) and occasionally higher; swells to change to north Thursday.

Surfs (breaking swells): Over 2 metres (over 6 feet). These conditions are conducive for dangerous rip currents. Surfs could be as much as twice the height of swells, depending on the bathymetry of the nearshore areas.

Coastal flooding: High tides combined with onshore wind and swell actions could result in localised coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Potential Impacts: Loss of life–strong currents that can carry even the strongest swimmers out to sea; injuries to beachgoers; beach erosion; sea water splashing onto low-lying coastal roads; beach closures; localised disruptions to marine recreation and businesses; financial losses; damage to coral reefs; saltwater intrusion and disruptions to potable water from desalination. High surfs can knock spectators off exposed rocks and jetties.

Precautionary: Beachgoers, especially to the mainly affected coastlines, should be extremely cautious; bathe only where lifeguards are present or on the sheltered, less affected beaches, mainly to the south and west. Extreme caution is also required by those using the affected non-beach or rocky coastlines.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near structures such as groins, jetties and piers. If caught in a rip current, relax and float.

Don`t swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.

  • PublishedFebruary 18, 2023

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