DEM warns of rip currents, high surf even with Tropical Storm Elsa gone

South County

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Tropical Storm Elsa has come and gone but the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is still warning residents about the dangers of rip currents and high surf.

There was a High Rip Current Risk in effect until 8 p.m. for all south-facing beaches.

At Charlestown Breachway, the effects of Elsa are still being felt, but the bad weather and high surf aren’t stopping locals like Jeffrey Minicucci from getting out and enjoying the beaches.

“Yeah there’s probably another two feet on top of what’s normal but they come in bursts,” he said. “You’ll get three or four and then they’ll be normal for four to five minutes.”

Even if you’re heading to the beach, DEM spokesperson Mike Healy is warning those enjoying the water to make sure that they are taking extra precautions.

“These storm events are something that we need to respect and we need to adjust our behavior accordingly,” he explained.

Officials are also reminding locals to always swim near a lifeguard and if you are caught in a rip current to make sure you remain calm and float.

“Situational awareness if you’re out in the surf, watch the waves, go out with a buddy if it’s choppy everyone needs to know how to swim,” Healy continued. “It’s common sense stuff but it’s important.”

Healy says that the DEM uses a flag system of Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue — Red being a high hazard.

“That’s what we had in Misquamicut and Scarborough this morning, a high hazard, not much of a rip current at Scarborough’s, pretty decent at Misqumicut East Beach and Charleston Breachway,” Healy said.

Healy is also urging those fishing not to get too close to areas where waves are breaking.

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