Swells, Large Waves & Agigated Seas Forecast To Affect T&T

Hazardous seas and large, battering waves affect Store Bay, Tobago, as long-period swells affected the region on October 28th, 2019.

Low-level winds are forecast to increase across the Southern Windwards beginning Thursday night through Friday, and again later next week, causing potentially rough seas across our eastern coastal waters.

In addition, long-period swells are now affecting the Windwards, particularly northern and eastern coastlines through this week into next week.

There are no alerts, watches, or warnings in effect from the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service at this time.

Seas Forecast For Trinidad

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

In sheltered areas, seas are forecast to remain below 1 meter generally and choppy at times. However, long-period swells will continue to affect mainly northern and eastern coastlines through the next seven days, causing larger waves in Trinidad’s nearshore areas.

On Thursday, swell periods are forecast to be between 11-14 seconds from the north to northeast. Friday through Sunday, swell periods are forecast to be between 10-13 seconds from the north to northeast. Thursday through Sunday, large, breaking waves may exceed that 1-meter mark along Northern and Eastern coastlines, up to 2.0 meters in nearshore areas.

From Monday through next week, swell periods will range between 13 to 17 seconds causing high energy waves that will batter our northern and eastern coastlines. Waves could exceed 2.5 meters in our coastal areas.

In open waters, as winds increase across the region, seas will remain moderate, with waves generally between 1.5 to 2.0 meters, as indicated above, through the forecast period. Generally, open waters east of Trinidad will be the most agitated.

Winds are forecast to be fresh to strong, with winds up to 20 knots from the east, gusting between 25 knots to 30 knots, particularly next week. Outside of this period, wind speeds are forecast to remain between 10 knots to 15 knots generally.

Over the next seven days, winds are generally forecast to be 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 occur, particularly 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after peak high tides. With heavy rainfall forecast over the next seven days, runoff will be delayed during high-tide periods.

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

Similar to the above forecast, northerly to northeasterly swells are forecast to predominantly affect northern and eastern coastlines.

Stronger low-level winds are forecast to affect Tobago next week, with seas becoming rough by mid-week next week, coupled with high-energy long-period swells.

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.

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

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

Winds could make some outdoor activities uncomfortable, if not outright dangerous. High winds can create dangerous fallen or blowing objects.

The strongest winds and the highest and most dangerous seas are forecast to begin next week. The highest seas will take place in the Atlantic waters of the islands.

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. 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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