Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, May 16, 2022

High Surf Warning in effect for VI- DDM

High Surf Warning in effect for VI- DDM

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

This is according to the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) today, March 7, 2022.

Locations to be affected: Reefs and especially exposed eastern coastlines with relatively shallow, gentle to moderately sloping, nearshore areas.

Timing: Until Tuesday morning.

Synopsis: Moderate long period swells are reaching the area and are affecting mainly eastern coastlines. The threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those using the affected coastlines is high, with the potential for extensive impacts. These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents for affected coastlines.

Seas: (significant wave heights): 2 to 3.3 meters (7 to 11 feet), occasionally or locally reaching 4 meters (14 feet). Swell period: 9 to 15 seconds.

Swells: East-northeast at 1.8 to 2.4 meters (6 to 8 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 nearshore areas.

Coastal flooding: High tides combined 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 main warning areas. All are also urged to stay away from rocky and or coastal structures along affected coastlines.

According to DDM, 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," DDM advised.

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