Hazardous Seas Alert Discontinued, Long-Period Swells & King Tides Continue to Affect T&T

The Hazardous Seas Alert Discontinuation


The Hazardous Seas Alert has been discontinued for Trinidad and Tobago as the peak of this swell event has passed

While long-period swells are on the decline, medium to long period swells are possible in nearshore areas through Wednesday across Northern Trinidad and coastal areas of Tobago, generally less than a 12 second period. Another swell event is forecast to occur by late Friday into the weekend.

Note that King Tides are slated to begin on Tuesday resulting in higher than usual high tides and lower than usual low tides. This may cause minor coastal flooding across low-lying coastal areas.

Since winds are forecast to remain moderate, seas will generally remain the same, with conditions in open waters below 2.0 meters over the next 7 days.

Trinidad and Tobago is NOT under any tropical storm threat, watch or warning.

Based on the latest model guidance and analysis, swell periods may range from 10-15 seconds over the next 2 days, capable of producing larger than usual breaking waves in bays, beaches, and other nearshore areas, particularly along Northern coastlines.

King tides are forecast to begin so we may see exacerbated effects during those high tide periods.

Information from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service concerning the Hazardous Seas Alert Discontinuation

“The peak of this particular event has passed, however, it is still possible for these northerly long period swells and spring tides to cause some agitation of nearshore sea conditions at the highlighted areas, especially at high tide.” according to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service. This “alert discontinuation” status takes into account the possibility of the event occurring. This event, with moderate seas, 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 green. This means that there is now a negligible impact on human safety and assets are basically undamaged.

Image Credit: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service
Green Level TTMS
Image Credit: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service

7-Day Sea Forecast

While hazardous seas have subsided, long-period swells will continue to predominantly affect our northern coastlines through Wednesday. Another long-period swells event is forecast to begin late Friday through the weekend.

In addition, King Tides are forecast to begin on Tuesday, bringing some of the highest high tides for the year.

Seas Forecast

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate seas with long period swells (and King Tides) occur across Trinidad and Tobago.
Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate seas with long-period swells (and King Tides) occur across Trinidad and Tobago.

The general sea state through the next 7 days is as follows:

Monday 6th April to Tuesday 7th April 2020: Moderate. Low-level winds between 15-20 knots, predominantly from the east to southeast, are forecast across the region. Generally, in open waters, waves between 1.5 meters and 2.0 meters and between 1.5 meters to 1.0 meter in sheltered areas. A combination of King tides (that begin on Tuesday) and long-period swells, large battering waves are possible affecting coastlines of both islands. Swells may bring waves up to 2.0 meters in nearshore areas!

Wednesday 8th April through Friday 10th April 2020: Moderate. Low-level winds between 10-15 knots, predominantly from the east to southeast, are forecast across the region. Generally, in open waters, waves between 1.5 meters and 2.0 meters and near calm in sheltered areas. King tides will continue, with possible coastal flooding in low-lying areas during high tide periods.

Saturday 11th April through Sunday 12th April: : Moderate. Low-level winds between 10-15 knots, predominantly from the east to southeast, are forecast across the region. Generally, in open waters, waves between 1.5 meters and 2.0 meters and between up to 1.0 meter in sheltered areas. A combination of King tides (that began on Tuesday) and long-period swells, large battering waves are possible affecting coastlines of both islands. Swells may bring waves up to 2.0 meters in nearshore areas!

Approximate high tides for Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Scarborough, Tobago are seen below. Low-lying coastal areas may experience coastal flooding, particularly 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after when peak high tides occur though this week.

High Tide Forecast for Trinidad over the next 7 days as King tides, long period swells and moderate seas forecast.
High Tide Forecast for Trinidad over the next 7 days as King tides, long period swells, and moderate seas forecast.
High Tide Forecast for Tobago over the next 7 days as King tides, long period swells and moderate seas forecast.
High Tide Forecast for Tobago over the next 7 days as King tides, long period swells and moderate seas forecast.

Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines (During Long Period Swells)

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

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 such as the South Trunk Road at Mosquito Creek, the Guayaguayare Mayaro Road at the Guayaguayare Sea Wall, and the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road. 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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