Beach patrol warns of rip currents after Henri moves through the area

Lifeguards say the day following a storm can often be more dangerous than the rain itself.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Sunday, August 22, 2021
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Beach patrol warns of rip tides after Henri moves through the area

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Officials in Ocean City, New Jersey are warning beachgoers about the potential for rip currents Sunday following Tropical Storm Henri.

Lifeguards say the day following a storm can often be more dangerous than the rain itself because swimmers tend to let their guard down.

Sunday morning, surfers flooded the beach, hoping to ride the waves after the storm.

"It was actually pretty killer, like the waves were coming in big sets and then they'd flatten out for a while. But if you wait for the good ones, it was awesome," said surfer Emma Duffy.

SEE ALSO: Henri brings major flooding to Mercer County, New Jersey

Still, not everyone was impressed with the water Henri left behind. Pro surfer Matt Keenan has seen bigger waves.

"Way calmer. It should be like five times the size and going across the beach and getting your blood pumping, and it's like you can get a better cup of coffee maybe," said Keenan.

"Yeah, we were actually talking to him too and said these were pretty small for him. We were like, 'What?'" said Duffy.

The waves are enough for lifeguards to issue a warning about rip currents.

"Even though you might be tricked by the sun being out for the morning and the ocean might look calm because the winds are offshore on the backside of the storm, the oceans still a very active place," said Mark Jamieson, the operations chief for Ocean City Beach Patrol.

SEE ALSO: Henri weakens into a tropical depression after storm slams Northeast

He says the other difficulty about this time of year is staffing. With lifeguards going back to school, beach patrol has closed 11 of the usual 45 stands it has up in peak season.

"Listen to lifeguards, swim at guarded beaches, guarded hours. Every town around here is on rip currents awareness, kind of alert today," said Jamieson.

Now that the sun is out, a lot of vacationers are happy about an unexpected beach day.

"We were at the pool the other day before we got here and my mom was like, 'oh there's gonna be a giant storm' and she had to move all her plants. And we were like, 'Will we get the rides or everything?' We got scared," said 9-year-old Maddie Davis from New York.

"Going on the beach and looking for seashells because I like seashells," said 4-year-old Ella Hart.