Heavy surf and dangerous rip currents are expected to close area beaches to swimming Friday and Saturday, as Hurricane Lee makes its closest pass by New Jersey.
The storm will remain well offshore – there is no chance of the storm striking New Jersey with rain or high winds – but the surf will be especially dangerous, capping off nearly two weeks of rescues and drownings that have dominated the local news cycle.
Seaside Heights issued a stern warning to visitors, urging them not to enter the water this weekend. Beyond safety consequences, legal consequences will result as well, the borough said in an announcement.
“Any person who enters the ocean will be issued a summons that will result in a fine, incarceration, or a combination of both,” it said.
High Surf Advisory
The National Weather Service issued its high surf advisory through Saturday at 8 p.m., though it may be extended. According to an NWS statement, “large breaking waves of up to 8 feet in the surf zone” are forecast with dangerous rip currents. Specifically, waves in the surf zone are expected to range between 6-9 feet, while the water temperature will remain in the upper 60s. It will be breezy, with north winds 20 to 25 m.p.h.
High tide (ocean) will occur in Seaside Heights at 8:20 a.m. and 8:24 p.m.
Rip Current Advisory
The NWS has also issued a rip current advisory for the entire region. Surf Zone forecasts are issued in two-day increments, with both Friday and Saturday being covered by the current advisory. Both days carry “high” rip current risks, which mean “life-threatening rip currents are likely in the surf zone.”
Most local communities have pre-announced their beaches would be closed to swimming, and Jenkinson’s announced this week that it would close access even to the sand until spring.
Making the scenario more dangerous is the overall fair weather expected this weekend, which would normally make it a prime opportunity for swimming. Highs will be in the mid-70s under sunny skies Friday, though some clouds will move in Saturday before clearing on Sunday. After a breezy Friday, winds are also expected to diminish.