12TH February 2010– A strong low pressure system across the northwest Atlantic will continue to intensify through tonight. Extremely strong winds associated with this low are generating very large north-northwest swells that will begin to arrive at the local Atlantic Coastlines late Friday morning and last through most of the weekend. Coastal flooding and extremely dangerous breaking waves of over 20 feet along reefs and steep coastlines may occur late Friday morning, through early Saturday. Breaking wave heights could then diminish, but still remain between 10 and 15 feet high throughout the weekend.

These breaking waves will generate strong and dangerous currents within the surf zone called Rip Currents. These narrow outward flowing currents can carry people and animals away from the coast line and out to sea.

If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. Calmly remain afloat, gather your bearings relative to the beach, and swim parallel to the beach. You will eventually leave the grip of this narrow current and be able to safely swim to shore.

Everyone planning to be on the northern coastlines should prepare for coastal flooding as the waters are expected to be 2 to 4 feet above normal tidal levels. Local beach goers and inexperienced surfers and swimmers are urged to stay out of the water until these hazardous surf conditions subside. Persons on the beach should be vigilant for large breaking waves surging upon the shore which can pull people of all sizes into the ocean. Everyone should avoid being near the shore line, and stay off of rock formations.

The Department of Disaster Management will continue to monitor the situation and provide further information when necessary. Please visit the DDM’s website at www.bviddm.com for continuous information.

Disclaimer: The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is not an official Meteorological Office. The Information disseminated by the Department is gathered from a number of professional sources used or contracted by the DDM to provide such information. This information is to be used as a guide by anyone who has interest in local weather conditions. By no means can the DDM or the BVI Government be held accountable by anyone who uses this information inappropriately for legal evidence or in justification of any decision which may result in the loss of finances, property or life.