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Marine Conditions Forecast to Remain Hazardous for USVI and Puerto Rico Through Tuesday

Marine weather alerts are issued for portions of Puerto Rico and the USVI through at least Tuesday. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Seas are expected to remain choppy across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and marine weather alerts are in effect until at least Tuesday.

Hazardous marine conditions across the region have occurred due to an ongoing north-northwesterly swell and gusty winds out of the northeast. The swell has impacted the islands for several days and created dangerous conditions for small boat operators and beachgoers.

Marine warnings issued over the weekend by the National Weather Service (NWS) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will continue for portions of both U.S. territories.

 

A Small Craft Advisory and a High Rip Current Risk will be in effect through at least Tuesday morning. A High Surf Advisory was in effect but expired on Monday night. Notably, although all marine alerts are expected to expire relatively soon, the NWS warned that seas may continue to be choppy through most of the week. The NWS also mentioned that minor coastal flooding and beach erosion is possible.

A graphic describing the marine weather alerts currently in effect across the region. Seas may continue to be choppy through most of the week. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

“A north-northwesterly swell is promoting seas between six and eight feet [with occasional seas up to 10 feet] across the Atlantic Waters and Caribbean Passages through early Tuesday,” according to an update on Monday from the NWS. “Both the general public and mariners should closely monitor the forecast marine conditions,” the NWS added.

Hazards Affecting Boaters and Beachgoers

The NWS alerts included information about the dangers of high surf and rip currents to help keep boaters and beachgoers safe. Rip currents, which are strong currents of water flowing very quickly away from the shore, may occur without warning and become extremely dangerous and even life-threatening for the most proficient swimmers.

Rip current safety information. (Photo courtesy NWS)

“Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water where it becomes difficult to return to safety,” the NWS cautioned. “High waves can wash over jetties and sweep people and pets onto jagged rocks. Rough surf may also knock you down, [and] minor beach erosion and localized coastal flooding may occur due to high surf,” the NWS continued.

“If you become caught in a rip current, yell for help. Remain calm, do not exhaust yourself, and stay afloat while waiting for help,” the NWS advised. “If you have to swim out of a rip current, swim parallel to shore and back toward the beach when possible. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current, as you will tire quickly,” the NWS said. Additional information regarding rip current safety is available here.

The NWS offered the following information and advice for small boat operators while a Small Craft Advisory is in effect.

“A Small Craft Advisory means that wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots and/or seas of seven feet or greater are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions to small craft,” the NWS explained. “Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in these conditions,” the NWS stated.

Stay Informed About Weather Conditions

USVI visitors and residents can find weather information and obtain updates, including marine weather alerts, from the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency website and the National Weather Service.

A daily weather post is also published on the Source Weather Page, and a daily weather forecast video is also available to watch.

 

 

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