High surf continues; DEM urges onlookers to stay off shoreline rocks

Weather Blog

Hurricane Teddy continues to swirl over the Atlantic Ocean and it’s waves can be felt all the way across the coastal areas of New England.

High Surf Advisories have been hoisted as a result with waves anywhere from 7 to 13 feet along the immediate beaches but just offshore waves can be higher than that.

Rip current risks are big threats over the next few days as Teddy passes off to our east.

The good news is ocean temperatures are dropping and the air temperatures are in the 60s and 70s causing less beachgoers to enter the water.

However, these waves are a surfers paradise and it was just last week that our area saw waves from an offshore Hurricane Paulette.

The waves from Hurricane Teddy are expected to be a bit bigger during the peak.

The Department of Environmental Management is urging wave watchers to stay off of the shoreline rocks. The waves crashing fiercely up against the rocks can easily knock onlookers into the water. These waves approach fast giving just a few seconds to brace for an impact.

“By far, the toughest part of a police officer’s job is calling the family members of someone who has just died unexpectedly and breaking the news to them about their loved one. Nothing prepares you for the emotion of that call,” said DEM Division of Law Enforcement Chief Dean Hoxsie. “Tomorrow will bring dangerous conditions – far too dangerous for swimming, surfing, shore fishing, taking your boat out onto the bay, or wave watching on rocks. DEM asks the public to think about the first responders whose lives they might jeopardize by getting too close to breaking waves, and to just stay away. Let’s work together to prevent another needless tragedy.”

With the strong current, those who fall into the water could be pulled out to sea or even worse suffer major injuries by making contact with rocks in the water.

There have been 3 deaths since 2018 due to onlookers having large waves crash on them. The goal from the DEM is to prevent this from happening again.

DEM reminds the public of recent drownings that occurred in dangerous weather: a 14-year-old boy August 30 at Beavertail State Park, a 64-year-old Massachusetts man July 12 at Scarborough State Beach, and a couple who were fishing on a rock too close to rough surf, were swept away by a large wave, and quickly drowned at Fort Wetherill State Park in October 2018.

The worst of the waves will be on Tuesday as wave heights will be 10 to 15 feet across the area.

The National Weather Service has issued a Gale Warning for Tuesday, September 22 from 8AM to 11PM and also a Small Craft Advisory from 9 AM to 7 PM on Tuesday

“Strong winds will cause hazardous seas, which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility. In Narragansett Bay, conditions will be hazardous to small craft. Winds will come out of the north at 15 to 20 knots with gusts up to 30 knots and waves of two to three feet are expected.”

On Wednesday, they will subside a tad to 5 to 7 feet, but regardless will create for a very dangerous situation in and near the water.

Notice how the wind probabilities expand as Teddy moves further north. As explained in the graphic below, the storm will be transitioning between tropical and extra-tropical, which will allow for the wind fields to expand.

A broader circulation takes over in a weaker storm, whereas in a strong powerful storm, there is a tight circulation around the center where the strongest winds are recorded.

Teddy has a projected path that takes him northward into Nova Scotia as an post-tropical system at landfall. The storm is going to gain forward motion and speed as it reaches higher latitudes and eventually will be carried northeastward into Newfoundland.

As Hurricane Teddy moves northward and begins to weaken and transition from tropical to extra-tropical, the storm’s wind field will actually expand.

The transition occurs when the storm loses its tropical characteristics and as it travels over cooler waters in the northern Atlantic, this will be one of the reasons.

Parts of Cape Cod and the islands could see gusts between 40 and 50 mph, which may require a Wind Advisory. However, the storm is expected to be several hundred miles off to the east as it passes by.

The image above is a snapshot from one of our computer models on what Hurricane Teddy is doing to the ocean water from all of its fierce winds. As Teddy stirs up the ocean, upwelling is allowing for colder ocean water at further depths to rise to the surface.

The best way to find the example is by finding Bermuda on this map and looking to the southeast. That green area surrounded by the yellow and orange indicates much cooler water rising to the surface.

This time frame is for later this week as Teddy moves further north.

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