Big waves, rip currents hit Pacific beaches

September 20, 2016

Residents and visitors along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast should be wary of high tides and big waves this week, according to the University of Costa Rica’s Ocean Science and Limnology Research Center (CIMAR).

Oceanographer Omar Lizano said that the closeness of the Earth to the Sun during the fall equinox along with a just-past-full moon this week are generating one of the highest tides of the year on both coasts, but mainly along the Pacific.

High tides are intensified by a storm in the southern Pacific. The weather phenomenon is also favoring the formation of ground swells and tall waves throughout the week, he said.

CIMAR reported that waves at the central Pacific beach of Puntarenas during the first two days of this week reached heights of up to 3.20 meters (10.5 feet). These waves likely will remain through Thursday, mainly from 5-7 a.m. the research center reported.

Starting Thursday, waves are expected to reach an average of 1.8 m (6 ft.) tall, mostly offshore. These waves likely will grow as they approach the shores and are expected to hit beaches with strong breaks.

The forecast adds that high tides along Puntarenas province could provoke flooding in some coastal communities both in the central and southern Pacific regions.

The report warns beachgoers to exercise caution, especially starting Thursday as the storm surge could bring rip currents to these areas.

Smaller waves in Limón

Tides along Caribbean beaches are also high this week, mainly between 5-6 p.m. However, CIMAR does not expect tides to bring bigger than usual waves to Limón province.

Waves at Limón beaches are expected to reach maximum heights of 1.5 meters (5 ft.) throughout the week.

CIMAR experts do not expect high tides to cause problems in Caribbean coastal communities.

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