The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) issued a press release this morning advising the public to use caution along shoreline areas today and over the next few days because of high surf generated by a tropical storm in the western Atlantic Ocean.
DEM reminds the public of the preventable tragedy that occurred in October, when a couple was fishing on a rock too close to rough surf, swept away by a large wave, and quickly drowned at Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown.
“Although Tropical Storm Erin is projected to remain well offshore of New England, the National Weather Service is forecasting that it will bring large swells and dangerous rip currents to ocean-exposed south-facing shorelines, including the beaches in Narragansett, Charlestown, and Westerly, over the next several days,” DEM states in the release. “Breakers ranging from 3 feet to 5 feet high are expected in Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. Individual waves, however, may be more than twice the average wave height”.
DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement estimated that there were about 40 to 50 anglers at Beavertail State Park yesterday. Along with some anglers, “storm watchers” put themselves in danger by standing too close to the surf on rocks along the shoreline in fishing areas, breakwalls, and breachways.
DEM urges Rhode Islanders to stay safe by remaining far away from areas where waves might splash over. Waves possess enormous force and can easily sweep a person into the water from what seems to be a safe viewing area. In addition, swells entering some inlets and harbor entrances could cause difficult navigation for operators of small craft.
For more information on DEM, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/.