Officials are warning swimmers about dangerous rip currents at beaches in Ocean County, New Jersey. The strong currents are being fueled by onshore winds, a new moon and Tropical Storm Cristobal.
“The biggest problem this week is a high rip current risk,” said NBC10 First Alert Weather Chief Meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz. “A combination of northeast wind and a new moon started it off. Now swells from Cristobal will take over the influence on rips. Cristobal will track far offshore but ocean waves will go up.”
Schwartz says the rip current risk should last through the week. Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Lieutenant Mike McCormick has already seen the dangerous effects.
“The way the currents are right now, it’s not just pulling out, it’s pulling down the beach,” McCormick said.
Lifeguards in Sea Isle City are not allowing beachgoers to go deeper than their waists due to the strong currents. In Harvey Cedars, beachgoers weren’t even allowed to go in the water past their knees on Monday.
“It’s very strong,” said Jeanne Lavelle of Port Richmond. “It knocked me over about three times and I’m not even all the way out.”
The strong currents come during the last big week of summer when many Jersey Shore Beach Patrols have fewer lifeguards since several have already returned to college.
“We really, really are advising people to stay out of the water once the lifeguards leave,” Lieutenant McCormick said.
Ocean City had 52 guarded beaches at the height of the summer. They’re currently down to 34.