A flashing red light will be installed at Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland to warn visitors of dangerous waves. RÚV reports that the light will be installed within three weeks. Powerful sneaker waves at the beach have been the cause of several fatal accidents, despite signs that warn visitors to keep their distance from the water.
The light will flash yellow or red based on the conditions at the beach. The colour code is based on a wave forecasting system that the Road and Coastal Administration began developing five years ago thanks to a grant from the Tourism Site Protection Fund.
“With [the forecasting system] we can predict with some degree of certainty how the waves will be,” explained Fannar Gíslason, who manages the Road and Coastal Administration’s harbour division. “The risk has been colour-coded green, yellow, and red depending on how much danger is posed by the waves at Reynisfjara.”
The light will be installed by the parking lot and walking path by Reynisfjara and will never be lit green. “There will be a flashing yellow warning light and it will be red when conditions are poor. We’ll have it like that at first, in any case. We’ll see how that goes, whether people notice it.”
In order to determine which wave heights are dangerous to the beach’s visitors, wave data was cross-referenced with police diaries and incident records. According to Fannar, the current forecasting system is in sync with that data.
A camera system will also be set up by the beach to allow authorities to observe the waves visually and calibrate those observations into the forecast.