By MADDY VITALE
Andrew Christy, of San Diego, Calif., got out of the water at 7th Street Surf Beach in Ocean City Friday and reflected on the rough surf and big waves brought to the area by the effects of Hurricane Lee.
“It’s windy. There’s lots of strong currents and it’s fairly good to surf – but it takes a lot of work,” Christy, 33, whose family lives in Ocean City, said. “This is what you hope for from a hurricane. By tomorrow it will be really good.”
While skilled surfers could venture out in the choppy surf, beachgoers could not. Spectators lined the Boardwalk and watched as waves and big swells gave surfers a major workout. Others watched from the beach. Some shot video or took photos.
The city and the Ocean City Beach Patrol sent out an alert Friday morning warning bathers to stay out of the ocean. Swimming will be prohibited on Saturday as well, officials said.
“Because of ocean conditions and large surf generated by Hurricane Lee, swimming will be prohibited off of all Ocean City beaches on Friday. For your own safety, please do not enter the ocean. All beaches remain open,” the statement read
In a statement, Mayor Jay Gillian urged beachgoers to stay out of the ocean.
“Hurricane Lee is passing by Ocean City this afternoon on its track up the Atlantic Ocean. We’re fortunate to dodge tropical-force winds, but ocean conditions are extremely rough. The Ocean City Beach Patrol is keeping swimmers out of the water today,” Gillian said Friday.
Gillian continued, “Conditions are expected to remain dangerous through the weekend, so please swim only at a guarded beach, if the OCBP allows it tomorrow and Sunday.”
The following beaches are scheduled to be guarded by the Ocean City Beach Patrol through Sunday:
- Charles Place
- 8th Street
- 9th Street
- 12th Street
- 34th Street
- 58th Street
Earlier this week, Cape May County officials put out a statement warning of dangerous conditions as a result of the impact of Hurricane Lee as follows:
- Dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents are already affecting our region. These will only become more severe through the remainder of the week as the storm moves northward in the western Atlantic. They should start to subside by Sunday.
- The ocean waters will become increasingly hazardous for small craft starting Wednesday as seas build, with waves possibly exceeding 10 feet by Thursday or Friday.
- Winds over the ocean and adjacent near-shore regions may approach gale force (gusts to near 40 mph) late Friday into Saturday. Gale warnings may be required for the ocean waters.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol strongly urges bathers to swim only at guarded beaches. For questions, email OCBP@ocnj.us or call 609-525-9200.