Hazardous Marine and Coastal Conditions Expected in USVI and Puerto Rico

A long-dominant period northwesterly to northerly swell and increasing trade winds, due to a strong surface high pressure system in the Atlantic, are predicted to cause hazardous conditions

  • Staff Consortium
  • December 09, 2023

The National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, issued a decision support briefing at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday warning of hazardous marine and coastal conditions expected through the weekend and into next week for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A long-dominant period northwesterly to northerly swell, coupled with increasing trade winds generated by a strong surface high pressure system across the western-central Atlantic, is predicted to cause hazardous marine conditions and life-threatening surf zone conditions. The most severe seas and winds are expected between today and Sunday, with increased shower activity also possible, though it is not anticipated to have significant impact.

Key risks and impacts outlined in the briefing include:

  • Marine Conditions: Seas are expected to reach hazardous levels of 7-10 feet, occasionally surging up to 11 feet. Wind speeds are likely to be 15-25 knots with gusts up to 30 knots, persisting through at least midweek. Due to these conditions, Small Craft Advisories are in effect through at least Wednesday for most local waters, with the exception of the coastal waters of southwestern Puerto Rico, where small craft should exercise caution.

  • Surf Zone Hazards: Life-threatening swimming and rip current conditions are anticipated due to large breaking waves of up to 10-13 feet. A High Surf Advisory is in effect until 6 PM this evening for the north-facing beaches of Puerto Rico. Additionally, a High Rip Current Risk warning is in place for these beaches, as well as for southeastern Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, and the U.S. Virgin Islands beaches, expected to last at least until late Tuesday night.

Residents and visitors in the affected areas are advised to stay informed and exercise caution during this period.

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