Hurricane Teddy’s Swells To Affect T&T, Lesser Antilles

As Hurricane Teddy strengthens in the Central Atlantic, long-period swells are moving toward the region. These swells are forecast to begin affecting the Lesser Antilles, including T&T, and Northern South American coasts by late Wednesday. Teddy is a large tropical cyclone and as it intensifies this week, swells will continue to affect the region through Monday.

Much of the severe impacts from these swells are forecast to mainly the Leewards and the Greater Antilles, but swells of this nature can produce rip currents in nearshore areas of Eastern and Northern Coasts of T&T.

In addition, strong low-level winds produced from forecast overnight thunderstorms Friday into Saturday could produce hazardous seas in the Gulf of Paria.

Hurricane Teddy East of the Lesser Antilles, producing a wide area of rough seas and swells moving toward the region on Wednesday. These swells are forecast to move across the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and the Southeastern United States later this week and over the weekend. (Windy)
Hurricane Teddy East of the Lesser Antilles, producing a wide area of rough seas and swells moving toward the region on Wednesday. These swells are forecast to move across the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and the Southeastern United States later this week and over the weekend. (Windy)

Though swells are forecast to subside over the weekend into next week, some models show swells from Teddy continuing to affect the region through the middle of next week. This will be determined by Teddy’s eventual strength in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center as of 11:00 PM Tuesday 15th September 2020, is calling for Teddy to reach Category 3 status over the weekend.

There are no alerts, watches, or warnings in effect from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service as of 2:00 AM Wednesday 16th September 2020.

Seas Forecast For Trinidad

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate to rough seas are forecast, with long-period swells and spring tides 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).
Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate to rough seas are forecast, with long-period swells and spring tides 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).

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

Wednesday 16th September 2020: Moderate. Generally, as the day progresses, long period swells originating from Hurricane Teddy will begin to predominantly affect Atlantic facing coasts of the island. Seas in this area will be up to 2.0 meters and choppy in nearshore areas.

Elsewhere, near calm conditions are forecast, with swells beginning to affect northern coastlines by nightfall. Spring tides are forecast to begin on Wednesday, with higher than usual high tides and lower than usual low tides

Winds are forecast to be generally below 10 knots from the east to northeast, with gusts to 15 knots.


Thursday 17th September 2020: Moderate to Rough. Swells from Hurricane Teddy will be affecting the Lesser Antilles, Northern South America, including T&T. In open waters, generally northern and eastern areas, waves up to 3 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along Eastern and Northern coastlines. Spring tides will be at its peak due to New Moon Thursday night, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible.

Winds are forecast to be generally calm, with light winds up to 10 knots from the east to southeast.

Friday 18th September 2020: Moderate. Swells from Hurricane Teddy continue to affect T&T. In open waters, generally northern and eastern areas, waves between 2.0 and 2.5 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along Eastern and Northern coastlines. Spring tides will continue, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible. Long period swells will begin to propagate into the Gulf of Paria on Friday producing larger than usual waves in nearshore areas.

Winds are forecast to be generally calm, with light winds up to 15 knots from the southeast.

Note: Overnight Friday into Saturday, strong winds and agitated seas are possible in the Gulf of Paria. Particularly along the Northwestern coasts, waves near 0.5 to 1 meter are possible, capable of damaging small crafts, marinas, and jetties.


Saturday 19th through Tuesday 22nd September 2020: Moderate. Swells from Teddy continue to affect T&T. In open waters, generally northern and eastern areas, waves between 1.5 and 2.5 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along Eastern and Northern coastlines. Spring tides will continue, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible. On Saturday through Sunday, long period swells will continue to propagate into the Gulf of Paria producing larger than usual waves in nearshore areas.

Winds are forecast to be generally less than 15 knots through these four days, with gusts less than 20 knots. However, the prevailing wind direction will be variable:

  • Saturday: Winds from the south to southeast
  • Sunday: Winds from the southeast to east
  • Monday: Winds from the east-southeast to east-northeast
  • Tuesday: Winds from the east to northeast

Below are approximate high tides for Port of Spain, Trinidad. Low-lying coastal areas may experience coastal flooding when long-period swells are occurring, particularly 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after peak high tides.

High Tide Forecast for Trinidad over the next 7 days as long period swells and moderate to rough seas forecast.
High Tide Forecast for Trinidad over the next 7 days as long period swells and moderate to rough seas forecast.

Seas Forecast For Tobago

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate to rough seas are forecast, with long-period swells and spring tides 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).
Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate to rough seas are forecast, with long-period swells and spring tides 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).

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

Wednesday 16th September 2020: Moderate to (by nightfall) Rough. Generally, as the day progresses, long period swells originating from Hurricane Teddy will begin to predominantly affect Atlantic facing coasts of the island. Seas in this area will be between 2.0 to 3.0 meters and choppy in nearshore areas.

Elsewhere, near calm conditions are forecast, with swells beginning to affect eastern coastlines by nightfall. Spring tides are forecast to begin on Wednesday, with higher than usual high tides and lower than usual low tides

Winds are forecast to be generally below 10 knots from the east to northeast, with gusts to 15 knots.


Thursday 17th September 2020: Rough with hazardous seas forecast. Swells from Hurricane Teddy will be affecting the Lesser Antilles, Northern South America, including T&T. In open waters, generally northern and eastern areas, waves between 3.0 to 3.5 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along Eastern coastlines. Spring tides will be at its peak due to New Moon Thursday night, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible.

Winds are forecast to be generally calm, with light winds up to 10 knots from the east to southeast.

Friday 18th September 2020: Moderate to rough. Swells from Hurricane Teddy continue to affect T&T. In open waters, generally eastern areas, waves between 2.5 and 3.0 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along Eastern coastlines. Spring tides will continue, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible. Long period swells will begin to propagate across the western coastlines of Tobago, producing larger than usual waves in nearshore areas.

Winds are forecast to be generally calm, with light winds up to 15 knots from the southeast.


Saturday 19th through Tuesday 22nd September 2020: Moderate. Swells from Teddy continue to affect Tobago. In open waters, generally northern and eastern areas, waves between 2.0 and 2.5 meters are possible and choppy conditions are forecast in sheltered coasts, with waves generally below 1 meter along these areas.

Large, breaking waves will likely exceed that 1-meter mark along all coastlines. Spring tides will continue, hence minor coastal flooding will be possible.

Winds are forecast to be generally less than 15 knots through these four days, with gusts less than 20 knots. However, the prevailing wind direction will be variable:

  • Saturday: Winds from the south to southeast
  • Sunday: Winds from the southeast to east
  • Monday: Winds from the east-southeast to east-northeast
  • Tuesday: Winds from the east to northeast

Below are approximate high tides for Scarborough, Tobago. Low-lying coastal areas may experience coastal flooding when long-period swells are occurring, particularly 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after peak high tides.

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

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
  • Coastal erosion
  • Disruption to outdoor and sporting activities
  • Disruption of transportation (air and especially sea)

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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