Hermine whips up New England beaches
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Hermine twisted hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, creating large waves in some southern New England beach waters that lured in surfers despite the rough surf and rip currents that kept most beachgoers away on the last day of the holiday weekend.
“These are more seasoned surfers who live for the thrill of these waves,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.
Hermine early Monday created 20-foot waves and wind gusts of up to about 30 mph about 55 miles southeast of Nantucket, Buttrick said.
In New York City, officials extended beach closures beyond Labor Day because of continued hazardous rip currents.
Parks officials said beaches will be closed to swimming, bathing and surfing on Tuesday.
The New York Post reported that police issued $80 tickets to at least four surfers at Rockaway Beach.
An emergency worker who dived into the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island to save a swimmer who violated the ban told the newspaper the current felt like a “300-pound guy pulling me back out to sea.”
Hermine was expected to stall over the water before weakening again.
Governors along the Eastern Seaboard announced emergency preparations. A tropical storm warning was in effect from New York’s Long Island to Massachusetts.
Whipping winds didn’t keep some people from walking along the New Jersey shore on Monday, but Labor Day vacationers A couple walks along a beach in Bourne, Mass., on Monday as Hermine continued to linger in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurricane nears Baja California
The National Hurricane Center said Newton, which formed off Mexico’s Pacific coast, strengthened into a hurricane.
Newton on Monday evening was about 215 miles southeast of Cabo San Lucas, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
The center of Newton was expected to be near or over the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula Tuesday morning.
Mexico issued a hurricane warning for the west coast of the Baja California Sur from north of Puerto Cortes to Cabo San Lazaro.
Coastal portions of five Mexican states could see 5 to 10 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 15 inches. quickly took to boardwalks as an aggressive high tide moved into the area late morning.
The waves eroded some of the shore, creating sand dune cliffs where kids climbed.
Warnings of potentially dangerous riptides temporarily cleared the water Monday morning, but a couple of dozen beachgoers and a handful of surfers returned to the water in Atlan- tic City by the afternoon. A rougher surf cleared portions of the beachfront.
Hermine rose over the Gulf of Mexico and hit Florida on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm across Georgia.
It has caused three deaths, inflicted widespread property damage and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people from Florida to Virginia.
Since sea levels have risen to a foot because of global warming, the storm surges pushed by Hermine could be even more damaging, climate scientists say.
“We are already experiencing more and more flooding due to climate change in every storm,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geosciences professor at Princeton University. “And it’s only the beginning.”
Michael Mann, at Pennsylvania State University, said the 1-foot rise that New York City has experienced over the past century caused an additional 25 square miles and several billions of dollars of damage with Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
No flooding or other damage had been reported as of Monday afternoon in some of the worst Sandy-hit areas.