Strong winds equal rough, dangerous surf along coast

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 25 at 8:08 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Rough surf and rip currents could be a problem all week as Tropical Storm Cristobal moves towards the East Coast. It will be most noticeable within a few hours of low tide. Be especially aware of the rip danger if you're in the water near jetties, piers and sandbars, weather officials stress.

There is also the possibility of minor beach erosion.

What some may have described as a "crazy windy" day at the Oceanfront Sunday was also a potentially dangerous one.

Strong winds helped create extremely high surf and rip tides.

"I have two children that are getting ready to paddle out, and I am a little concerned," said Jenny Cooke of Portsmouth.

Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service (VBLS) had 80-90 responders between Sandbridge and 57th Street. They watched swimmers, warning them only to go ankle-deep to knee-deep in the water.

"A lot of times, when people hear the whistles a lot, they tune them out, so you will see them out of their stands, talking to people a lot to get the message across," said Captain Gary Felch with VBLS.

Participants in the East Coast Surfing Championships enjoyed the ride the big waves provided, but Felch explained even they can have problems if they get caught in a rip tide.

"If they are in that situation, we always tell them to swim parallel to shore and call or wave for help," said Felch.

Lifeguard Kosta Viennas told 13News Now VBLS works hard to keep it from reaching the point of rescue.

"If they're far out, it's very difficult because the current is running south very strong, so we try to prevent rescues as much as we can," Viennas said.

Lifeguards told us NOAA charts showed rough conditions all the way down the coast through Nags Head on the Outer Banks.

 

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