Big waves expected this weekend on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast

January 23, 2015

Strong winds with intensities of up to 26 knots from the northeast will create strong wave conditions in several coastal areas in Costa Rica, particularly in the northern Pacific, the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research in Ocean Sciences and Limnology (CIMAR) reports.

An increase in wave height and tides is expected throughout the weekend in the northern Pacific, and conditions are expected to intensify on Monday, the report adds.

In the Pacific province of Puntarenas, tides will increase on Friday. Beginning at 5 p.m., tides of up to 3.15 meters (10.5 feet) – “among the highest this year,” says CIMAR – are expected in the Central Pacific region.

In the northern Pacific, strong gusts will begin on Sunday, and an increase in wave height is expected on Monday, with waves of up to 1.9 meters (6.3 feet) and strong breaks that will generate choppy seas.

CIMAR experts warn that strong winds could cause problems for small boats, particularly inside the Gulf of Nicoya and at Lake Arenal.

Storm surges from the northern Pacific will cause waves of up to 2.5 meters every 23 seconds on average in the Cocos Island area. This mainly will affect the island beaches of Chatam and Wafer Bay.

For the Central and South Pacific, the forecast warns of swells, but waves will have average heights of between 0.8-1.2 m (2.7-4 ft). Sailing conditions will be good, according to CIMAR, but experts recommend beachgoers stay alert as conditions expected on Monday could generate rip currents. Strong winds and waves earlier this month caused the sinking of a tourist catamaran carrying more than 100 passengers. Three passengers died.

The CIMAR forecast indicates that sailing conditions during the weekend will be favorable in the Caribbean, and tall waves are not expected at least until Monday, when waves of 1.5-1.8 meters (5-6 feet) are expected.

Experts urged coastal residents to keep an eye on areas prone to flooding or where coastlines have erosion problems.

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