BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Rip currents fueled by Hurricane Jose had rescuers racing from trouble spot to trouble spot on the New Jersey coastline Sunday.
CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported a tropical storm watch was in effect for coastal areas, including Long Island in and the Jersey Shore, until further notice.
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Jose was rotating at 90 mph with winds holding steady, with pressure at 972 mb. The storm was headed north at 9 mph, and was located 305 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The latest track does not place the Tri-State Area in the cone of concern, but that does not mean the storm could not cause problems. In fact, it was already causing problems on Sunday.
As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported, most lifeguards along the Jersey Shore are only working weekends through Oct. 1. And with the Category 1 storm churning north up the coast, beachgoers are being warned to stay out of the water.
But not everyone did, and in some spots, lifeguards had to jump into action. CBS2’s Dave Carlin witnessed drama unfold from the beach in Belmar, Monmouth County.
It was not a drill. Lifeguards on Belmar Beach raced to a life-and-death riptide crisis one mile down the shore.
“Textbook riptide rescue,” said Chris Leal of the Belmar Beach Patrol.
Leal and fellow lifeguards applied speed and skill, and tools including a 600-yard line were extended to rescue high school students Myles Kowalski and Nicole Binkley.
They were pulled from churning, high surf that rescuers said they had no business messing with.
“Blink of an eye – it took us out in like seconds,” said Kowalski, of Lawrenceville.
“We just got pulled out fast,” said Binkley, of Burlington Township.
For beachgoers, even getting their feet wet was taking a chance, because Hurricane Jose is increasingly whipping up the waves.
Kowalski and Binkley quickly knew their mistake was walking in to them, without their boards after a morning of surfing.
What saved their lives was that lifeguards were close by.
“We saw it right away,” Leal said.
“And they had the lines and they brought her in first, and then they slowly got the other line and they brought us in, thank God,” Kowalski said.
Starting Monday, should that same rescue scenario take place. the response time would be different. After the Sunday work shift, those lifeguards were done for the season.
“There will be no guard presence after this. It’ll be a 911 call,” said Pat Ciriello of the Belmar Beach Patrol.
Ciriello shudders to imagine beachgoers left to fend for themselves this week, because on Sunday, a constant stream of them kept getting in too deep — out too far.
“I want to follow what he say,” one man said. “It’s better if we swim over there. It’s more quiet I think, for safety I think.”
Five minutes later, three women started wading in to danger. Ciriello headed back in, with his warning on repeat that riptides are no joke.
So don’t give the last laugh to Hurricane Jose just because you can’t see him.