Beware: Hurricane Gaston may worsen Jersey Shore rip currents
It's late August and some Jersey Shore lifeguards have left for school or a regular job. But it's prime time during the hurricane season, and the rip current risk has been heightened as a storm churns through the Atlantic.
Meteorologist Lance Franck with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly says narrow currents of water from Hurricane Gaston that flow away from the beach and typically occur near sand bars will generate rip current hazards.
"A lot of that depends on the strength of the storm, the location."
Franck says rip currents from a storm like Gaston can send out waves that eventually reach our coast.
"They are narrow currents of water that flow away from the beach. They typically occur near sand bars, jetties. And they are dangerous."
The rip current risk because of Gaston will be high Sunday through next Wednesday.
What complicates this is as the summer wanes is that there are fewer lifeguards on New Jersey beaches. But Steve Stocks, chief of the Wildwood Beach Patrol says, "it may not be as many as in July, because we do not need as many. But your hours are posted, your guarded beaches are posted."
Stocks sought to ease fears about hitting the surf with a high rip current risk and fewer guards on the beaches.
"If you are at guarded beaches, the lifeguards in South Jersey will take care of you."
He says swimmers can stay safe by heeding the lifeguard's advice about where and when to swim.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.