A low pressure system off to the west of the UK is generating some big waves which are set to affect western coasts through today and Tuesday.
Waves of between 2-4 metres (about 6-12ft) are expected through the peak of the swell early on Tuesday at exposed beaches in the South West.
There will also be some fairly strong winds tomorrow, with the potential for gale force gusts around coasts in western areas – which may make for difficult conditions for those camping.
With many people around the coasts for summer holidays, people are being urged to take care.
A spokesman for the RNLI said: “Large waves could make some normal coastal activities we take for granted significantly more risky; the force of surging water or breaking waves can easily knock you over and quickly and drag you out of your depth and once in the water it can be difficult to get out.
“Those particularly at risk from these conditions are walkers on beaches or harbour walls when the water is high; spectators looking at the waves who get too close; and anglers fishing from rocks or exposed headlands. With a low pressure and high winds forecast, areas that you may have considered safe before could be underwater when large waves come ashore.
“If you are planning a coastal activity, our advice is to respect the water; watch the shore from a safe distance and assess the conditions – think about the risk before deciding if you need to go closer.”
The waves are the result of a low pressure which is currently to the west of Ireland. As it has been tracking across the Atlantic its strong winds have been generating large waves.
As the low gets closer to the UK it will track to the north of Scotland, but the waves it has generated will continue marching east towards our coasts.
The size of the waves on any given beach will depend on a number of local factors.
Tides are not particularly large at the moment, meaning the risk of coastal flooding is low for the next few days despite the big waves.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The flood risk is very low for the next few days. We always monitor the situation closely, working alongside partners, including the Met Office and local authorities, and issue alerts and warnings if required. People and businesses can sign up to receive these free flood warnings and to check their flood risk via our daily flood risk forecast and live Flood Warnings map.”
With British and Irish waters being dangerously unpredictable, the RNLI have just launched a new campaign ‘Respect the Water’ to raise awareness of hidden dangers around our coastline.
For more information on ‘Respect the Water’ visit http://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water/Pages/what-is-respect-the-water.aspx