NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hurricane Jose is causing dangerous rip currents at beaches from New Jersey to Long Island and raising concerns about flooding and beach erosion as the Category 1 storm moves north just off the East Coast.
The dramatic effects were already noticeable at Jones Beach where over the weekend beach chairs and sunbathers dotted the sand. Now it’s completely flooded.
Jones Beach ocean waters covered much of its sprawling sand Monday morning — a sign of things to come says State Parks Deputy Regional Director George Gorman.
“We are going to have the next two days that we’re going to see the effects of the hurricane come in and it’s only going to get worse,” Gorman said. “We are concerned about erosion and we are concerned about damage that the flooding could cause.”
High winds, heavy rain, and severe rip currents could be treacherous on Long Island from Hurricane Jose. The entire island is under a tropical storm watch and while beaches are closed for the season, there is still concern that some will want to test the waters.
“We do have patrol out there advising people not to go into the water because it just is too dangerous,” Gorman said. “Nobody should go in the water. It’s just too dangerous.”
There is also concern about erosion.
“Right now the Montauk area, parks, the water is up to the dune and in fact, hitting the dunes and eroding some of the dunes so we are concerned about the extent of Long Island in particular,” Gorman told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “But Robert Moses on the east side is also a concern. That’s a traditional location where we have seen erosion.”
Two-year-old Peter Neale splashed in the natural kiddie pool formed by ocean water on the sands at Jones Beach, but his mother knows that means Jose is tracking north, bringing dramatic high tides.
“I’m really shocked at what’s going on here. Obviously my son is having a blast, but I’m a little worried what is going to happen to the beach,” she said.
Jose is also threatening the New Jersey shore with rough surf, powerful winds and the chance for storm surge. A tropical storm watch is in effect for eastern Monmouth, Ocean, southeast Burlington, Atlantic and Cape May counties.
The town of Hempstead has been readying chain saw, bucket trucks, and generators — high winds can cause trees to come down and power outages.
Supervisor Anthony Santino urged residents to take in or tie down law furniture and secure small boats.
“Get it out of the water. If you can’t double up the lines, secure it to where it’s moored, make sure anything on the boat is secured because it’s really going to be a high wind event,” he said.
Lifeguards are off duty for the season, so even a veteran boogie boarder decided to play it safe and admire the angry ocean without going it.
“It’s really nice to see big waves coming in. Would be nice to ride them too, but without a lifeguard there is no sense taking a chance,” Jack Schiereck said.
On Belmar Beach, the rip tides pulled swimmers into danger over the weekend.
Lifeguards had to rescue two high school students who were caught off guard by hurricane surf.
“It took about five lifeguards swimming landlines out to pull these two kids out, and they were very, very grateful,” said lifeguard Chris Leal. “They had no chance whatsoever. They were at the total mercy of the ocean.”
“Blink of an eye took us out in seconds,” said Myles Kowalski of Lawrenceville.
“We just got pulled out fast,” said Nicole Binkley of Burlington Township.
Seeing signs warning of high wind and heavy rain on the horizon had beach lovers checking on the waves in Sea Bright while it was still safe Monday.
“Praying, just enjoying it while I can,” Ann Lalley of Hazlet told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
Even though the center of the storm is expected to pass well east of New Jersey, Drone Force 2 captured crews raking sand and forming dunes to protect what everyone knows has been destroyed in the past.
“Concerning to say the least,” Sea Bright Business General Manager Michael Norris said. “We went through Sandy obviously, it’s always in the back of your mind.”
At Donovan’s Reef, the beach and patio bars were already closed, and outdoor furniture was soon to be put away.
“We’re going to take our precautions and clean up everything, and get everything secured. Just in the event that we get some strong winds and heavy surf coming in,” general manager Michael Norris said.
The center of the storm is expected to pass well east of the coast, but people in shore towns will feel the effects.
Half an inch to 2 inches of rain are likely with storm surges of 1 to 3 feet, there will be sustained winds between 25 and 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 45.
Crews are using heavy machinery to push sand and create an additional barrier, but erosion is likely, and business owners are worried.
“People don’t come here for just the businesses, they come here for the Jersey beaches, they want to lay in the sun and have a good time so if thee are no beaches they don’t need to come,” Brian McMullin said.
Later Monday, parks workers will pile sand bags around Atlantic Ocean beachfront facilities.
The greatest concern is in Montauk where swimming has been prohibited for days and ocean waters are up to the sand dunes.
“It’s not something that’s unusual, but we don’t like seeing it,” Gorman said. “We are very concerned about it.”
Officials in Long Beach, Long Island, are also taking precautions.
“We have got our public works crews out around the clock ensuring that storm drains are clear and moving said,” said City Manager Jack Schnirman.
Shore lovers everywhere share similar concerns, in the midst of one of the most dangerously active hurricane seasons anyone can remember.
“You’d have to be unaware if you’re not concerned,” Red Bank resident Joan Laurie told CBS2.
On Monday afternoon, Jose was centered about 270 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.