Hazardous Seas Alert In Effect For T&T Through Monday

The Hazardous Seas Alert

Low-level winds are forecast to increase across the Southern Windwards beginning Friday night through the weekend causing rough seas across our eastern coastal waters.

In addition, long-period swells are slated to affect T&T’s northern and eastern coastlines between Friday and Monday, coinciding with peak winds.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service has now issued a Hazardous Seas Alert (Yellow Level) for our coastal waters beginning at 5:00 AM Saturday 2nd January 2021 through 8:00 AM Monday 4th January 2021.

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 10-18 seconds beginning Friday night through Sunday night. These swells may be capable of producing large, dangerous breaking waves in bays, beaches, and other nearshore areas. This means that wave heights in bays and beaches may reach up to 3.0 meters, depending on the bathymetry of the area.

Coinciding with this swell event would be strong low-level winds, beginning Friday night through Monday morning, but peak winds are forecast Saturday night into Sunday morning. These winds will agitate seas, with waves averaging 2.5 meters, at times up to 3.5 meters in open waters.

In sheltered areas, areas are forecast to be near 1 meter and choppy over the weekend.

Information from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service concerning the Hazardous Seas Alert in effect from 5:00 AM Saturday through 8:00 AM Monday.

“Sea conditions will be agitated over the weekend and are expected to become rough with wave heights averaging 2.5 m occasionally peaking up to 3.5 m along affected areas. Sea conditions in sheltered areas will be choppy at times.” 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 and you need to be aware of the impacts of hazardous seas in your area. Moderate impacts are expected, so there is the chance of possible injuries and persons would need to take action to ensure safety. There may be minor damage to property.

Image Credit: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service

Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines

Impacts possible from large, battering waves 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.

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

Inter-Island Ferry Sailing Delayed

The Trinidad and Tobago Inter-island Transportation Company Limited (TTIT) advised that it is still safe for the inter-island vessels to operate to and from Tobago. However, for improved comfort, vessels will be operating at reduced speeds making the estimated travel time three and a half hours. The 4:00 PM sailing of the T&T Spirit from Trinidad has been rescheduled to 2:00 PM on Saturday 2nd January 2021. The TTIT also advised that all other sailings will remain as scheduled.

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