Large, battering waves at Store Bay, Tobago during a long-period swell event on October 28th, 2019.
Generally, moderate to occasionally rough seas are forecast to continue through this week as a strong high-pressure system weakens in the North Atlantic. Still, moderate to occasionally strong low-level winds are forecast 15-20 knots (30-40 KM/H) and gusts to 60 KM/H.
These low-level winds will agitate coastal waters, predominantly eastern coastal areas of Trinidad and all coastal areas of Tobago throughout the week.
Thankfully, no severe long period swells are in the seas forecast throughout the week.
A “super” full moon is occurring tonight, Sunday 9th February 2020 – with the moon’s closest distance to Earth occurring on Monday 10th February. This means that spring tides are forecast to continue through Tuesday, with minor coastal flooding possible in low-lying coastal areas. Spring tides mean higher than usual high tides and lower than usual low tides, a normal occurrence during the lunar cycle.
There is some debate as to whether this moon is considered a supermoon, depending on which definition you subscribe to.
The agreed upon supermoons for 2020 are expected on March 9th, April 7th/8th and even May 7th, depending on what you define a supermoon as.
The general sea state through the next 7 days is as follows:
Sunday 9th and Monday 10th February 2020: Moderate to occasionally Rough. 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, while offshore waters east of Tobago may occasionally exceed 2.5 meters at times. In sheltered areas, waves are forecast to be near 1.0 meter and choppy at times. Peak spring tides are forecast to occur on these days.
Tuesday 11th through Friday 14th February 2020: Moderate to occasionally Rough. Low-level winds between 15-20 knots, predominantly from the east to northeast. 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, while offshore waters east of Tobago may occasionally exceed 2.5 meters at times. In sheltered areas, waves are forecast to be near 1.0 meter.
Saturday 15th February 2020: Moderate, with waves generally between 2.0 and 2.5 meters in open water. In sheltered areas, near or below 1.0 meters. Winds are forecast to decrease to 10-15 knots from the east to northeast.
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 between Sunday and Tuesday.
As of 11:00 AM Sunday 9th February 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.
Impacts on T&T’s Shorelines
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.
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.