Dangerous rip currents possible as Tropical Storm Elsa passes by SWFL
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Although it may be tempting to flock to Sanibel Island or Barefoot Beach to see the seas churn as Tropical Storm Elsa passes by, the danger of rip currents should keep you at home and out of the water.
As of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, TS Elsa has sustained winds of 60 MPH. Although all areas of Southwest Florida are outside the cone of concern, tropical storm force winds will extend 70 miles from the storm.
Wave heights at Blind Pass on Sanibel are projected to be 6-7ft on Tuesday at 6 p.m., according to Surfline. That’s a far cry from the average 0-1ft.
Boca Grande and Gasparilla Point are both forecasted to produce 7-8ft waves by Tuesday evening.
Waves brought in by tropical storms have drawn surfers to SWFL beaches in the past, but keep in mind — when in doubt… don’t go out.
Waves that break along the coast are often accompanied by dangerous — and potentially deadly — rip currents. Rip currents are areas of water where the current is flowing away from shore. The currents are so strong that even the strongest swimmers can be pulled out to sea.
In 2008, despite the fact that Hurricane Bertha was more than 1,000 miles offshore, the storm resulted in rip currents that killed three people along the New Jersey coast and required 1,500 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Maryland, over a 1 week period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Rip currents aren’t the only dangers brought on by tropical storms. Lightning and spin-up tornadoes are possible.
Although it is tempting to be a looky-loo during a tropical storm, it’s safest to just stay home.
If you’re curious about what the impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa look like locally, be sure to tune in to NBC2 for Team Coverage across SWFL. On the go? Watch our YouTube live stream here: https://youtu.be/R9RpcIX-AzE
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