Her­mine whips up New Eng­land beaches

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Amy An­thony

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.


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