Surfers enjoying Florence’s swells but urge caution


NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — The rough surf off Rhode Island’s coast caused by Florence didn’t stop surfers and onlookers from flocking to beaches on Friday.

Although the storm is nearly 700 miles south of Rhode Island, it’s causing high surf and increased swells locally, making for ideal surfing conditions, according to Lester Burnham of Middletown.

“The water is strong, but we are comfortable in the water as long as you know what you are doing,” Burnham said, who was surfing with friends at Second Beach in Middletown.

TRACKING FLORENCE: In-Depth Coverage & Hurricane Tracker » | Pinpoint Weather Blog » | Detailed 7-Day Forecast » | Ocean & Bay Forecast » | Storm Ready Resource Guide » | Follow the Pinpoint Weather Team on Twitter »

Although surfing is something local Michael Jeff enjoys, he said riding these kinds of waves is bittersweet.  

“I enjoy it but it’s also kind of painful at the same time,” Jeff said. “It’s hard to be super excited because you know it’s causing a lot of devastation to other people.”  

Others just watched from a distance, like Michael Leeson, who had to his change plans because of the storm.

“We were supposed to be down at Bikefest in Ocean City, Maryland,” he said. “The storm was hitting, coming into the Carolinas, and we basically made the decision to head north where the sun is.”

Florence made landfall in North Carolina early Friday morning, bringing 90 mph sustained winds and causing major flooding.

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