WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Hurricane Jose is forecast to turn north this weekend.
Tri-State Area residents can expect dangerous rip currents at ocean beaches in our area, just as folks try to squeeze in one last blast of summer.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the sunny and 80-degree weather was an irresistible end-of-summer draw for the O’Mahoney kids Friday, under the watchful eye of their mother.
“Stay where it’s only up to their knees and we need to be near where the life guard stand is,” mom Christine O’Mahoney said.
But come Saturday and Sunday, the waves are expected to start churning up danger, as what’s now Hurricane Jose barrels north.
“Even though it’s hundreds of miles away for us, we will see the effects on the shoreline. We will see rough surf, we will see rip currents, we will see flooding and we will see some erosion,” Jones Beach State Park Director George Gorman said. “So all of that, as a beachfront manager, has me very concerned.”
All three state park beaches – Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Hither Hills – have lifeguards working through the weekend. Balmy temperatures and sunshine will no doubt draw crowds.
But rough surf and life-threatening rip currents will force lifeguards to make real-time decisions about when to close the beach to swimmers.
“You really need to know your own limitations, and if you don’t feel comfortable swimming normally, you don’t test the waters in hurricane surf,” lifeguard captain Don Kramer said.
He told Gusoff he can spot a rip current, but it’s hard for the inexperienced eye. To survive one, you need to float or swim parallel to shore.
Craig Greenfield has felt the gripping pull.
“When you’re trying to swim toward shore, it’s actually pushing you farther out,” he said. “It is very frightening.”
Officials at Jones Beach urge caution once lifeguards leave their posts for the season after Sunday.
“Don’t go in an unprotected area. You’re risking your life,” Gorman said.
Sunday’s New York Fit Fest at Long Beach, with 30 different fitness classes and lectures on the beach, had to make its surfing lesson a land session, because professional Big Wave surfer Will Skudin said the won’t is not safe.
So while it’s tempting to make summer’s last weekend a beach weekend, especially with ocean temperatures in the 70s, pay close attention to where and when you’re allowed to swim.