High Surf Warning in effect for Antigua and Barbuda


Urgent – Marine Weather Message High Surf Warning Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services 10:00 AM Wednesday 17 March 2021


…High surf warning in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands… Locations to be affected: Reefs and especially exposed north-facing coastlines with relatively shallow, gentle to moderately sloping near shore areas.


Timing: Until 8 am Thursday for Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and until 8 pm Thursday for the rest. Synopsis: Moderate, long period swells, from distant strong winds over the northern Atlantic, associated with a powerful extratropical cyclone, are impacting the area, mainly north-facing coastlines. The threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those using the affected coastlines is 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 metres or over 10 feet will affect some coastlines in the warning area, producing hazardous conditions.


Seas (significant wave heights): 2 to near 3.5 metres (7 to 11 feet), occasionally or locally reaching over 4 metres (14 feet). Swell period: 10 to 15 seconds. Swells: North at 2 to 3 metres (6 to 10 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.


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 harbours making navigating the harbour 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.


Stay tuned to updates coming out of the Met Office via antiguamet.com and facebook.com/abmetservice


Forecaster: Dale Destin

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