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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Surfers taking advantage of high swells

OK yes, Hurricane Bill does offer really good surf along the US coast for surfers to enjoy. While I'm not coordinated enough to stand on a board on dry land, I know many people look to the high waves we will be seeing on the east coast this weekend.

Surf's up, and so is danger, as Bill approaches (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Hurricane Bill, energized by warm ocean temperatures, agitated the North Atlantic yesterday like a giant plunger, creating waves up to 28 feet near Bermuda. Officials said the waves could go as high as 47 feet in the open sea today.

"It's a very dangerous situation," said Hugh Cobb, marine forecaster for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Along the Atlantic coast, mariners will encounter waves of up to 12 feet off New Jersey and a daunting 20 feet off Cape Cod today and tonight, Cobb said.

Waves of up to eight feet are expected through tomorrow directly in front of lifeguard stands at the Jersey Shore, where riptides are all but a certainty, according to the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.

Other than that, it should be a decent day at the Shore. No kidding. Heavy rains are expected inland, where a flash-flood watch has been posted, but along the coast highs are forecast to be in the mid-80s, with light winds and only a chance of showers.


On R.I. coast, surfers answering the call of Hurricane Bill (Providence Journal)

“This” is the ripple effect of Hurricane Bill passing hundreds of miles east of New England this weekend and producing what surfing aficionados are predicting will be some of the best wave-riding conditions in years.

In fact, the water conditions will probably be too large — and too dangerous — for most surfers’ skill levels, cautioned Robert Fox, owner of the Matunuck Surf Shop, who has surfed Rhode Island since the 1960s.

“They’re predicting easily a 10- to 12-foot surf. That’s big,” said Fox, particularly when you consider the average summer wave in Rhode Island is 1 to 2 feet. “I think it’s going to be too big.

“I’ve never seen a bigger swell forecasted around here, and I’ve been surfing here since the 1960s.”

Some communities, such as South Kingstown, are considering closing off sections of shore to surfers and swimmers if the conditions get as big as predicted.

A combination of Bill’s powerful wave-producing winds, this week’s new moon — which causes extreme high and low tides — and the waves’ southeast approach, should mean gigantic waves hitting the shore square on, said Fox.

“These will easily be the best waves of the season,” said Fox. “People are pumped, probably overly so,” because most surfers won’t be able to ride them.


Video: Bill produces big waves and warnings (The Weather Channel)

The point is to not underestimate the effects of a storm as powerful as Bull. Even though the storm will pass a few hundred miles off the coast, the surf will be very dangerous. Unless you are skilled in rough seas, I would strongly recommend staying out of the water.

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