February 23, 2020734Views

23rd February 2020 – A high surf advisory remains in effect for the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The highest swells and perhaps surfs will take place across northern coastlines of the BVI on Monday.

Moderate, long period swells, generated by previously strong easterly winds, are reaching the area. These swells will give way to swellsfrom the north by Monday, being generated by an extratropical cyclone, located across the western North Atlantic. These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents near some coastlines.

Seas: 1.2 to 2.5 metres (4 to 8 feet), occasionally or locally reaching near 3 metres (10 feet). Swell period: 9 to 13 seconds. Swells: East and then North by Monday at 1.2 to 2 metres (4 to 7 feet) and occasionally higher.

Surfs (breaking swells): Over 2 metres (over 6 feet). These conditions will be conducive for dangerous rip currents. Please note that surfs could be as much as twice the height of swells, depending on the bathymetry of the near shore areas.
Coastal flooding: High tides combine with onshore wind and swell actions could result in localized coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Locations (to be) affected: Reefs and mainly exposed eastern coastlines with relatively shallow, gently to moderately sloping near shore areas through Sunday and mainly northern similar coastlines from Monday.

Timing: Until Thursday.

Impacts (possible/likely/expected): Loss of life – strong currents that can carry even the strongest swimmers
out to sea; injuries to beachgoers; beach erosion; sea water splashing onto low lying coastal roads; beach closures; localized disruptions to marine recreation and businesses; financial losses; damage to coral reefs; salt water intrusion and disruptions to potable water from desalination. High surfs can knock spectators off exposed rocks and jetties. Breaking waves may occasionally impact harbours making navigating the harbour channel dangerous.

Precautionary/preparedness actions: A high surf advisory means that dangerous surfs of 2 to 3 metres or 6 to 10 feet will affect coastlines in the advisory area, producing hazardous conditions. Beachgoers should be extremely cautious; bathe only where lifeguards are present or the sheltered, less affected beaches, mainly to the south.
Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from 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.

Disclaimer: The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is not an official Meteorological Office. The Information disseminated by the Department is gathered from a number of professional sources used or contracted by the DDM to provide such information. This information is to be used as a guide by anyone who has interest in local weather conditions. By no means can the DDM or the BVI Government be held accountable by anyone who uses this information appropriately for legal evidence or in justification of any decision which may result in the loss of finances, property or life.