March 17, 2021591Views

High surf warning goes into effect Wednesday for the British Virgin Islands…

Locations to be affected: Reefs and especially exposed northeast-facing coastlines with relatively shallow, gentle to moderately sloping near shore areas.

Timing: Wednesday until Thursday for the British Virgin Islands.

Synopsis: Moderate, long period swells, from distant strong winds over the northern Atlantic, associated with a powerful extratropical cyclone, are expected to impact the area, mainly northern and east-facing coastlines. The threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those using the affected coastlines is forecast to rise to high, and there is the potential for extensive impacts. These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents near affected coastlines.

A high surf warning means that dangerous battering surfs of over 3 meters or over 10 feet will affect some coastlines in the warning area, producing hazardous conditions.

Seas (significant wave heights): 2 to near 3.5 meters (7 to 11 feet), occasionally or locally reaching over 4 meters (14 feet).

Swell period: 10 to 15 seconds. Swells: North-northeast at 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) and occasionally higher.

Surfs (breaking swells): Over 3 meters (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.

Potential Impacts: 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 harbors making navigating the harbors channel dangerous.

Precautionary actions: No one should enter the waters of the warning areas. All are also urged to stay away from rocky and or coastal structures along affected coastlines.

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.

Please continue to monitor these hazardous, life-threatening marine conditions.

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.