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Met Office Warns of High Surf

Wednesday 28th March, 2018 –High surf is expected around the island and sea bathers are being cautioned to stay away from certain beaches.

According to the Met Office, 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 were expected to start arriving last evening across the Bahamas, this morning across Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and this afternoon across the Leeward Islands, including Antigua and Barbuda.

The swells are not expected to be close to those experienced several weeks ago in size and duration even will come nowhere close to the last one in size and duration. These swell waves are expected to be moderate – 2 to 3 metres across the northeast Caribbean and larger for the islands to the west. However, high surfs will pummel the shorelines with heights of 15 feet, getting higher westwards through the islands.

Some beaches will be off limits according to Dale Destin of the Meteorological Office.

Such high swells and surfs will produce an elevated threat to life and property in the surf zone. 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.

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

Climatologist Dale Destin says the unusual sea conditions are expected to subside heading into the holiday weekend.

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