Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Watch: Powerful waves swamp fishing boats in Tobago

Rough seas are pounding shorelines across the Caribbean, a video circulating shows waves crashing over fishing boats in neighbouring Tobago.

The video, which was shared on Monday via social media, showed powerful waves at Mount Irvine Beach swamping fishing boats. Other videos shared online showed choppy waves along other coastlines around Tobago and Trinidad. 


Citizens were warned to stay out of the sea if possible after the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service issued a Hazardous Seas Alert - Yellow Level, warning of rough seas and long-period swells, from Sunday night until Tuesday afternoon.

The Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) told Loop News they are aware of the videos and are monitoring the situation. 

A combination of low-level winds cobined with long-period northern swells were forecast to affect nearshore activity around Tobago and northern Trinidad. 

The Met Office said waves were likely to reach heights between 2.5 and 3.5 metres (over 10 feet) in open waters.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Hazardous Seas warning is a warning for wave heights and/or wave steepness values meeting or exceeding locally defined warning criteria.

What are long period swells?

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, swell waves are are the regular, longer period waves generated by distant weather systems. They may travel over thousands of kilometres.

There may be several sets of swell waves travelling in different directions, causing crossing swells and a confused sea state. Crossing swells may make boat handling more difficult and pose heightened risk on ocean bars. See more information about the second swell. 

There may be swell present even if the wind is calm and there are no sea waves. There are two methods for identifying multiple swells.

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