Another Swell Event to Impact Antigua and the Northern Caribbean

27 03 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

A powerful low-pressure system is pushing long period swells of moderate heights across the Atlantic that will reach the northern Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda. The swells will start to arrive tonight across the Bahamas, tomorrow morning across Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and Wednesday afternoon across the Leeward Islands, including Antigua and Barbuda.

Fort James Beach During the Last Swell Event - Swellmageddon

Fort James Beach During the Last Swell Event – Swellmageddon – 1st Week of March 2018

This swells even will come no where close to the last one in size and duration. The swell waves will be moderate – 2 to 3 metres across the northeast Caribbean and larger for the islands to the west. However, high surfs will pummel our shorelines with heights of  4.5 metres or 15 feet, getting higher as you go west through the islands.

SwellsMar272018

Such high swells and surfs will produce an elevated threat to life and property in the surf zone. The high surfs that will result in beach closures as swimming conditions will become extremely dangerous for beachgoers.

The event will likely cause major beach erosion; possibly flooding of low-lying coastal roads; disruptions to marine recreation and businesses; financial losses and damage to coral reefs.

Although relatively small, this swell episode may also cause disruptions to potable water from desalination as turbulent seas could increase the turbidity of the water above safe levels for the desalting plants.

A high surf warning has been issued by the Met Office for Antigua and the rest of the northeast Caribbean. Other Offices are expected to issue warnings for as far west as the Bahamas and extending south to the northern Windward Islands. Swells could exceed 5 m (17 ft) across the Bahamas.

The impact on shorelines will not be the same everywhere. Depending on the depth, size, shape and the natural shelter of the coastal waters, the impact will be different. Shallow north-facing shorelines are expected to see the highest swells and surfs; especiall for Barbuda and the more northerly islands.

In open waters, the swells will be virtually harmless to small craft operators as they will be long-period, gentle waves.

Again, this is no “swellmageddon”; however, there will be impacts and associated financial losses.

Keep following us for all things weather and climate.


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