Over the next three days, as forecast, long-period swells are forecast to continue impacting T&T. The peak of the swell event is ongoing today (Wednesday 13th October 2021). Low-level winds are forecast to mostly be light to gentle through the end of the week.
The Hazardous Seas Alert
The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service has updated a Hazardous Seas Alert (Yellow Level) for nearshore areas of Tobago as well as northern and western sheltered areas of Trinidad. The alert remains in effect from 11:00 PM Tuesday 12th October 2021 through 2:00 PM Friday 15th October 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
“Northerly swells have been observed along nearshore sheltered areas, resulting in occasional battering waves mainly along Tobago. These conditions can be exacerbated during high tides. Although this swell event is excepted to peak today (13th October), individual swells can continue to result in higher 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 has been observed.
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 has been observed, but the severity of impacts is moderate for this particular alert. You should be aware of the dangers in your area associated with large, battering waves.
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.
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.