TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Swimmers and lifeguards are facing a high risk for rip currents along New Jersey beaches.
The National Weather Service said Hurricane Cristobal is predicted to pass well to the southeast of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday night.
Long period swells will spread out from the storm, churning up the surf along Jersey shore beaches.
Lifeguards at North Broadway Beach in Long Branch put up yellow and red flags alerting people to the rough conditions in the ocean.
“The yellow flag is a caution flag and red flag means no swimming, it’s too dangerous to swim,” said lifeguard Buzz Ciprut.
Lt. Lifeguard Matt Siciliano said it’s important to pay attention to the warnings.
“Listen to whatever the lifeguards have posted, if they say no swimming, don’t try to go in,” Siciliano told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet. “I’ve been doing it a long time so when we say it’s not safe, it’s not safe.”
The high risk for rip currents is in effect through Wednesday night, but many beachgoers didn’t let the conditions ruin their day.
“The weather is perfect and there’s a perfect breeze so it couldn’t get any better than this, even with the rip current,” one woman said.
While beachgoers were enjoying themselves, lifeguards pulled distressed swimmers from the water in Avon By The Sea.
The rescue was one of many this week as massive waves and dangerous rip currents combined to make for treacherous swimming conditions.
“We anticipate the currents getting even stronger. Right now we are at yellow flag, meaning we allow our swimmers to go no deeper than waist deep,” Don Klein, Operations Manager, Sea Bright Public Beach told CBS 2’s Elise Finch.
As more restrictions are placed on swimmers at the beach, business starts to boom for nearby merchants.
“If you can’t go swimming you’re probably going to spend money. That’s what all the vendors are hoping for,” Nina Goossens said.
Hurricane Cristobal drenched Atlantic and Caribbean islands with heavy rains, causing flooding that officials blamed for at least five deaths.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, and it was expected to pass northwest of Bermuda on Wednesday, and strengthen slightly by Thursday. Early Wednesday, it was centered 430 miles west of Bermuda and was moving north near 12 mph. Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 60 miles from the center.
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