After at least two beach drownings and some close calls occurring within the last two months, the Meteorological Services is cautioning residents about hazardous, life-threatening marine conditions due to high surfs.
A High Surf Warning goes into effect today, Wednesday, April 27, and will run from this afternoon until late tonight.
Meteorologist Dale Destin says the areas to be affected include reefs and mainly exposed northern and north-facing coastlines, with relatively shallow, gentle to moderately sloping near-shore areas.
He warns that moderate long-period swells are expected and that the threat level to the life, livelihood, property and infrastructure of those on the affected coastlines is forecast to rise to “high,” with the potential for extensive impacts.
These swells are expected to cause life-threatening surfs and rip currents for affected coastlines, he says.
A high-surf warning means that dangerous battering surfs of over three metres or 10 feet will affect some coastlines in the warning area, producing hazardous conditions.
Destin says that high surfs can knock spectators off exposed rocks and jetties, and that breaking waves may occasionally impact harbours, making navigating the harbour channel dangerous.
Accordingly, no one should enter the waters of the main warning areas and residents must stay away from rocky and/or coastal structures along affected coastlines.
Destin explains that rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore; they occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near structures such as groins, jetties and piers.
He advises that if caught in a rip current, persons should 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,” he recommends.