Eastern Caribbean Experiencing Unusual Weather Patterns

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 19, 2008 - Residents of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean have been warned to expect huge waves to affect their coasts, as a deep low pressure system centred over the North Atlantic threatens to generate large sea swells.

The Barbados and Saint Lucia Meteorological Offices yesterday issued weather forecasts indicating that "significant sea wave height" were expected over the Eastern Caribbean, starting today and continuing into tomorrow.

The Barbados Meteorological Office indicated that swells around four to five metres, or 12 to 16 feet, were expected over the coastal waters surrounding Barbados from late Wednesday/early Thursday.

The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) indicated it has been made aware of the situation and was putting contingency arrangements in place. A similar approach has been taken by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in St Lucia, which said it was monitoring the situation and putting local contingency measures in place particularly for the safe harbour of vessels.

The Barbados-based CDERA also urged the public to note that "over the next two days potential significant sea swells may be observed".

Meantime, the weather won't be very calm in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) either.

A cold front moving across the local area started producing scattered showers and gusty winds yesterday and was also expected to generate very large swells.

"As the swells arrive, marine conditions will continue to deteriorate and large swells approaching the local area may be in excess of nine to 12 feet increasing to 16 feet or more," a release from CDERA indicated.

"For that reason, a Small Craft Advisory remains in effect until Friday night, a High Surf Advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. Friday, and a Coastal Flood Watch is in effect until Friday."

The BVI Department of Disaster Management on Tuesday, March 18 in a release captioned and captioned "Dangerous sea conditions to affect the BVI waters". urged BVI residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution when venturing out to swim deadly rip currents and strong-break-to shore waves will be present.

It added that mariners should also be very cautious when securing and operating vessels since the waves are supposed to be larger than usual and may create very hazardous conditions.


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