September 20, 20191069Views

A high surf warning is in effect for the British Virgin Islands

The worst is expected to begin later this afternoon.

Northerly long swells of moderate height from Hurricanes Jerry and Humberto will reach the islands. The swells are expected to cause life-threatening surfs and powerful rip currents. There is also the possibility of flooding of some low-lying coastal areas. These swells will present an especially heightened threat to life and property in the surf zone.

Seas: 2 to 3 metres (6 to 10 feet), occasionally reaching 4 metres (13 feet). Swell period: 12 to 15 seconds.

Swells: northerly at 2 to 2.5 metres (6 to 8 feet) and occasionally higher.

Surfs (breaking swells): Over 3 metres (over 10 feet). These conditions will be very 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 will result in coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Locations (to be) affected: Reefs and exposed northern and east facing coastlines with relatively shallow gently sloping near shore areas.

Timing: Friday until Saturday morning.

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; 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 warning means that dangerous surfs of over 3 metres or over 10 feet will affect coastlines in the advisory area, producing hazardous. No one should enter the water, especially on northern side of the islands. All are also urged to say away from rocky and or coastal structures along beaches.

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.