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Dangerous ocean swell heading for T&T’s north coast
A large and dangerous ocean swell event is expected to hit T&T’s coastal areas this weekend, an advisory by the Surfing Association of T&T warned yesterday. The advisory, issued on several social networks, said massive waves formed by “a combination of multiple North Atlantic cold fronts will focus their energy on the north coast.”
It added that this development will begin affecting the area on Sunday, and swells were expected to grow from an estimated five-seven feet at 18-second intervals to seven to ten feet at 17-second intervals on Monday. It added waves could reach higher than 20 feet and the swell could continue into next week.
Sea conditions being experienced around T&T are normal, with waves peaking at two metres. However, numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are forecasting that sea conditions will change over the next four days, the advisory said. The Office of Disaster Preparedness also issued a bulletin, noting the ODPM and Meteorological Office were monitoring the development. The ODPM said Tobago will experience the effects earlier than Trinidad.
“Citizens in general, and those residing along coastal areas, are asked to be on the alert for above-normal sea conditions...All necessary measures must be taken to preserve life and property,” the ODPM said. It also advised extra caution by small craft operators, sea bathers and all marine interests while at sea.
Contacted yesterday, Legena Henry, who has an MSc in ocean engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a PhD candidate in non-linear wave behaviour at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, said based on information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there will be high-speed winds accompanied by a cold front during the event.
She said this will cause waves to be as high as 30 feet along the north coast. Sea bathers and people with marine interests should refrain from going to the beaches along the north coast this weekend. Henry said the effects will hit the beaches on Saturday, but the worst impact is expected to be felt on Sunday and Monday.
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