Over the next seven days, as forecast, long-period swells are forecast to impact T&T. Swells from ex-Tropical Storm Odette will be affecting T&T from Friday through the weekend. Then, a developing hurricane (Hurricane Sam) to the east of the Lesser Antilles is forecast to gradually near the region as it strengthens into a major hurricane. More long-period swells are forecast to affect the region beginning next week.
Low-level winds are forecast to mostly be light to gentle through the 7-day-period.
The Hazardous Seas Alert
The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service has issued a Hazardous Seas Alert (Yellow Level) for our coastal waters, which is in effect from 4:00 AM Friday 24th September 2021 through 11:00 AM Monday 27th September 2021.
Trinidad and Tobago is NOT under any tropical storm threat, watch or warning.
Information from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service concerning the Hazardous Seas Alert in effect from 4:00 AM Friday through 11:00 AM Monday.
“Northerly high energy swells are expected to impact northern and western nearshore coastlines of Trinidad and Tobago. These swells can result in high surfs and occasional battering waves.” according to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service. This “alert” status takes into account the possibility of the event occurring. This event is likely.
The color of the alert indicates the severity of the event and the probability of the event occurring. Currently, the alert level is at Yellow. This means that the hazard is likely, but the severity of impacts is moderate for this particular alert. You should be aware of the hazards in your area associated with gusty winds in excess of 65 KM/H, street, and flash flooding as well as landslides.
For a moderate Hazardous Seas Alert, there is the potential for possible injuries, where behavioral changes are required to ensure safety. There may be minor damage to property, with income-earning temporarily disrupted and a couple of communities are affected.
The Met Office is advising the public to monitor sea conditions and exercise caution in nearshore areas, be on the alert for large waves in the area of interest and follow the instructions of lifeguards.
Seas Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago
In sheltered areas, seas are forecast to remain calm on days with no long-period swells affecting the country. When swells between 9-14 seconds arrive on Friday through Sunday, and again from Monday, waves are forecast to be below 1.5 meters generally with large, breaking waves exceeding the 1-meter mark along northern and eastern coastlines.
Winds are forecast to be light to gentle, with winds up to 15 knots from the east-northeast to the south gusting up to 25 knots, particularly next week.
In open waters, seas will remain slight to moderate with waves generally up to 2.0 meters as indicated above for Trinidad and Tobago by late Monday onwards. Generally, open waters east and north of Trinidad and Tobago will be the most agitated.
Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines
Impacts possible from long-period swells include the following:
- Loss of life;
- 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.
- Coastal erosion and flooding;
- Localized disruptions of businesses;
- Disruption to outdoor and sporting activities;
- Disruption of sea transportation.
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.