Seaside Heights warns swimmers to stay out of the water
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — If you are headed to this weekend's Italian-American Festival or Ocean County Columbus Day Parade, you are advised to resist the temptation to take one more dip in the ocean.
Following three rescues over the past four days, and more warm temperatures on the way, Seaside Heights issued a warning that the beaches are closed.
"Swimming is permitted ONLY when lifeguards are on duty. Lifeguards have been released for the 2018 season. Ergo, swimming is not permitted at any time until Memorial Day Weekend 2019," according to a post on the Seaside Heights Borough Facebook page.
The water has been especially rough for the past month, with an elevated risk of rip currents daily. The last "low risk" was Sept. 5.
The borough also pointed out the risks involved with rescues.
"Dozens of first responders driving to their buildings and to the scene. High risk just to get to the scene. Then the risk of launching boats and jet skis and personnel into the ocean water in difficult conditions — because of a single careless person thinking that it was a good idea to disregard warning signs and put our volunteers and career public safety officers in harm's way," read the borough's post.
Townsquare New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the rough surf can be blamed on on Tropical Storm Leslie, even though the storm is centered over 900 miles east of New Jersey.
"As the wind blows partially off the ocean for the first half of this weekend, the rip current risk, wave heights, and coastal flooding threat will only get bigger," Zarrow said.
Zarrow said clouds may linger into Saturday morning, with temperatures in the 70s, but winds will come back out of the southwest, sending temperatures back into the 80s.