Long Period Swells, Moderate Seas Forecast To Affect T&T This Weekend.

Over the next 24 hours, a high-pressure system will be at its peak strength across the region, producing generally breezy conditions also resulting in the moderate seas forecast. Winds are forecast to peak between 15 to 20 knots (30-40 KM/H) with gusts up to 55 KM/H accompanying showers and in offshore or elevated areas.

These low-level winds will agitate coastal waters, predominantly eastern coastal areas of Trinidad and all coastal areas of Tobago, decreasing in strength by Tuesday.

In addition, long period swells, with swell periods up to 15 seconds, are affecting northern and eastern coasts of Trinidad and Tobago through early Tuesday. These swells can produce large, battering waves and dangerous rip currents in nearshore areas.

NHC/Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch Unified Surface Analysis showing the two strengthening low-pressure systems in the North Atlantic that are forecast to produce our next swell events that will begin this weekend.
NHC/Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch Unified Surface Analysis showing the two strengthening low-pressure systems in the North Atlantic that are forecast to produce our next swell events that will begin this weekend.

While swells are forecast to subside by Tuesday, another more prolonged swell event is slated to begin on Saturday and continuing well into next week. These swells will be due to two separate low-pressure systems in the North Atlantic strengthening as the week progresses, moving further north.

Seas Forecast

Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate seas are forecast, with long-period swells to affect Trinidad and Tobago.
Sea state forecast through the next 7 days, as moderate seas are forecast, with long-period swells to affect Trinidad and Tobago.

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

Monday 30th March 2020: Moderate. Low-level winds between 15-20 knots, predominantly from the east to northeast, are forecast to affect seas across the region. Across Eastern and Northern Trinidad as well as all offshore areas of Tobago except Eastern Tobago, waves in open waters up are forecast to be up to 2.5 meters. In sheltered areas, waves are forecast to be near 1.0 meter and choppy at times. Long period swells will produce larger than usual waves in nearshore areas of northern and eastern coasts of T&T.

Tuesday 31st March 2020 to Friday 3rd April 2020: Moderate to slight. Low-level winds between 10-15 knots, predominantly from the east to northeast on Tuesday, from the east on Wednesday and then east to southeast Thursday through Friday. Long period swells are forecast to subside, while overall sea conditions calm with waves up to 1.5 meters generally in open waters and below 1.0 meter to near calm in sheltered areas.

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th April 2020: Slight to Moderate, with waves generally between 1.5 and 2.0 meters in open waters. Long period swells with notably long periods, up to 17 seconds, are forecast to predominantly affect northern and eastern coastlines of both islands. This means high-energy waves are possible, battering coastlines with waves up to 1.5 meters and choppy. Winds are forecast to remain gentle to moderate between 10-15 knots from the east to southeast.

Outside of the 7-day forecast, swells are forecast to continue through the first half of next week, with seas becoming moderate to rough as winds also increase. Hazardous Seas Alerts may be issued for Trinidad and Tobago, while small craft advisories or warnings and high surf advisories and warnings may be issued for other Caribbean Islands within the next 7 days.

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

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

As of 1:00 AM Monday 30th March 2020, there are no alerts, watches or warnings in effect from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service, as seas remain below yellow-alert-level criteria at the moment.

Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines
(Particularly For This Weekend)

With seas occasionally rough, the following impacts are possible:

  • Loss of life or injuries due to inexperienced mariners operating small craft in open waters;
  • Elevated risk of rip currents in eastern coastal areas.

Other impacts, apart from hazardous seas, include:

  • Minor coastal flooding in low-lying areas;
  • Disruption of transportation along low-lying coastal roadways.

For Monday 30th March 2020: Winds between 30-50 KM/H could make some outdoor activities uncomfortable. High winds can create dangerous fallen or blowing objects, particularly during gusts accompanying showers.

There is a moderate 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.

Saltwater may 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.

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