Rough Seas Forecast For T&T Next Week Due To Swells, Strong Winds

Low-level winds are forecast to increase across the Southern Windwards beginning Monday through the upcoming week, causing occasionally rough seas across our northern and eastern coastal waters.

In addition, long-period swells are forecast to affect T&T’s coastlines beginning on Tuesday evening through Thursday.

Spring tides are also contributing to potentially hazardous marine conditions which began on Friday 27th March February 2021 and will continue through Saturday 3rd April 2021.

Lastly, with an increase in Saharan Dust forecast on Monday 29th March 2021, and another surge on Saturday 3rd April 2021, reduced visibility offshore may warrant additional caution.

There are no alerts, watches, or warnings in effect for T&T from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service concerning seas at this time, though an Adverse Weather Alert is in effect for T&T through 2:00 PM Tuesday, alerting of “agitated seas”. The alert was updated at 9:22 AM Sunday. For islands north of our area, yellow-level marine alerts are in effect for Barbados.

Seas Forecast For Trinidad

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate seas are forecast, with long-period swells affecting the island. Note that sheltered areas include bays, beaches, and generally the Gulf of Paria and western areas of the Columbus Channel. Open waters are the Atlantic Ocean (Eastern Trinidad), the Eastern Columbus Channel (Southern Trinidad), and the Caribbean Sea (north of Trinidad).

In sheltered areas, seas are forecast to remain near 1 meter generally and choppy at times, up to 1.5 meters between Tuesday and Thursday. Choppy seas will be due to strong winds at low-levels and long-period swells affecting mainly northern and eastern coastlines, causing larger waves in Trinidad’s nearshore areas.

Peak swells are forecast to occur between Tuesday through Thursday, with swell periods between 13-20 seconds. From Thursday through the end of the forecast period, swell periods may range from 10 to 15 seconds. Throughout the week, large, breaking waves may exceed the 1-meter mark along Northern and Eastern coastlines, up to 2.0 meters in nearshore areas.

Note that spring tides will cause a larger tidal range than usual. This means lower than usual low tides and higher than usual high tides, which will require caution from mariners and beachgoers alike due to strong currents.

Winds are forecast to be fresh to strong, with winds up to 25 knots from the northeast gusting up to 30 knots, particularly Monday through Thursday. Outside of this period, wind speeds are forecast to remain between 10 knots to 20 knots, generally gusting to 25 knots.

In open waters, as winds increase across the region, seas will remain moderate to occasionally rough, with waves generally up to 2.0 meters as indicated above for Trinidad. Waves at times up to 3.0 meters are possible in Trinidad’s far eastern coastal waters, particularly Monday through Thursday. Generally, open waters east and north of Trinidad will be the most agitated.

Large open water swells can be hazardous to some vessels. Operation of smaller vessels can be difficult at times due to large swells. Small craft operators may experience difficulty operating throughout the week in open waters.

Tidal forecast for Port of Spain, Trinidad courtesy Tide-Forecast.com

Seas Forecast For Tobago

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate to rough seas are forecast, with long-period swells affecting the island. Note that sheltered areas include bays, beaches, and generally western coasts of Tobago. Open waters are the Atlantic Ocean (Eastern Tobago) and the Caribbean Sea (west of Tobago).

In sheltered areas, seas are forecast to remain near 1 meter generally and choppy at times, up to 1.5 meters between Tuesday and Thursday. Choppy seas will be due to strong winds at low-levels and long-period swells affecting mainly northern and eastern coastlines, causing larger waves in Tobago’s nearshore areas.

In open waters, as winds increase across the region, seas will remain moderate to rough, with waves generally up to 3.0 meters as indicated above for Tobago. Generally, open waters east and north of Tobago will be the most agitated.

Tidal forecast for Scarborough, Tobago courtesy Tide-Forecast.com

Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines

Impacts possible from rough seas include the following:

  • Loss of life;
  • Injuries;
  • Sea search and rescue disruptions;
  • Disruptions to sea transportation;
  • Scarcity of seafood;
  • Damage or loss of boats and fishing equipment;
  • Disruptions to marine recreation and businesses
  • Economic losses.

Other impacts from the high winds, apart from hazardous seas, include:

  • Injuries;
  • Coastal erosion;
  • Localized disruptions of businesses;
  • Disruption to outdoor and sporting activities;
  • Disruption of transportation (air and especially sea) and

Winds could make some outdoor activities uncomfortable, if not outright dangerous. High winds can create dangerous fallen or blowing objects.

The strongest winds and the highest and most dangerous seas are forecast to begin next week. The highest seas will take place in the Atlantic waters of the islands.

There is also the potential for loss of life. There is a high risk of rip currents, strong currents that can carry even the strongest swimmers out to sea.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the 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.

There is also the potential for injuries to beachgoers; beach closures; localized disruptions to marine recreation and businesses and financial losses.

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

High surfs can knock spectators off exposed rocks and jetties. Breaking waves may occasionally impact harbors making navigating the harbor channel dangerous.

Saltwater will likely splash onto low-lying coastal roads. Bays and beaches may become inundated.

Coral reefs may experience increased stress and damages, in addition to localized beach erosion, particularly in areas where battering waves focus.

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