The National Weather Service (NWS) is warning swimmers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to exercise caution over the next few days as dangerous flooding caused by Hurricane Franklin will begin to hit New England.
The threat of flooding begins Tuesday evening and will last through Thursday. said the service. During this time, surf is expected to reach heights of up to seven feet along some stretches of coast.
Where the tide will be strongest
According to the service, the highest risk of tidal waves is along the Rhode Island coast, the Bristol County coast and the islands’ south coast. The surf there is expected to be four to seven feet high.
The risk of high tide means the conditions are dangerous and potentially life-threatening for anyone entering the surf, the service said.
There is a moderate risk of tidal waves along Nantucket’s east coast and the Cape, according to the service. The surf there is expected to be three to seven feet high.
Those planning to hit the surf in these areas should check with local beach patrols before swimming, the service said. If you wish to swim, always swim within sight of a lifeguard and never swim alone or at night.
There is a low risk of tidal waves on the north and south coasts. However, the service warns that swimmers should always exercise caution in these areas, as tidal waves can hit anywhere, especially near jetties. Surf in these areas is expected to be about two feet high.
Although Hurricane Franklin does not go towards the coast, that won’t stop it from affecting the tides. NWS Boston weather forecaster Kevin Cadima said small boats could also be affected by the high surf.
“Although [the hurricane] goes out to sea, it traveled toward New England, and all of the wave energy propagates toward the coast,” he said. “…These long-lasting waves contribute to the currents and high surf.”
Why floods are so dangerous
Tidal waves are strong water currents that flow away from the shore and often cause drowning due to their strength. depending on the service. They can move up to eight feet per second.
“River currents are often referred to as drowning machines by lifeguards and are the number one cause of rescuing people in the surf. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers, but a strong current poses a hazard even for experienced swimmers,” the service wrote on its website.
The US Life Saving Association estimates that over 100 people drown in floods each year, and flood rescues account for over 80% of lifeguard rescues, according to the service.
earlier this month, A man from Brockton died Days after being rescued from a flood at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The rescue required a “human chain” to reach 27-year-old Edmilson Gomes and his colleagues, but when they pulled him out of the water, he was unresponsive.
The final result? When in doubt, don’t go out.
What to do if you get caught in a current?
First, the service says, keep calm to conserve energy and think clearly. Don’t fight against the current. It’s like a treadmill that you can’t turn off and you have to step to the side.
Second, swim out of the current in a direction that follows the shoreline, the service says. If you are out of the current, swim at an angle. You should walk away from the current and towards the shore.
If you are unable to swim out of the current, the service recommends swimming or pedaling the water as calmly as possible. Once out of the current, swim towards shore.
If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by shouting and waving your arms, the service says.
If you see someone caught in a current, don’t swim out to help them unless you’re a lifeguard, the service says. Get help from a lifeguard or call 911 if no one is around.
According to the service, there are two ways to help someone caught in a current from shore. First, you can toss them something that floats, such as a life jacket, life hose, or cooler. Second, you can shout instructions to them on how to get out of the current.
“Remember, many people drown trying to rescue someone else from a current,” the service wrote on its website.
NWS tips for safety at high tide:
- Swim at a beach protected by lifeguards
- Never swim alone
- Do not swim at night when swimmers and currents can be difficult to see
- Obey all lifeguard instructions and instructions
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and docks
- Watch out for children, the elderly and other weak swimmers
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