Va. Beach lifeguards warn of dangerous rip currents

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WWBT) – It is hot and sunny Wednesday. In fact restaurant and hotel owners say it is business as usual in Virginia Beach this weekend. They're just hoping Earl doesn't make people leave early and miss this last money making beach weekend of the year.

Amidst the crashing waves, sun bathers and over eager surfers is a family of four on vacation from Richmond.

When asked if they had heard about Hurricane Earl Sarah Gross said, "We have heard about Earl! We are heading home!"

Sarah Gross says Earl's presence can already be felt in the ocean's current as her son Ben, experienced it firsthand.

"Yesterday it pulled me all the way over there by the last lifeguard," said Ben Gross. "It was a little scary, because I was wondering how the current did it so fast."

"We certainly have seen an increased wave height," said Tom Gill.

Gill is in charge of the Virginia Beach lifeguards. Tuesday they rescued 60 people from rip currents.

"For a non swimmer it's deadly. They're going to get pulled out, they're going to panic and they're going to start going under within seconds," he said.

This is why it's a red flag day, and why Gill met with all his lifeguards this morning to prepare for Hurricane Earl.

Despite the rough waters, most tourists we caught up with are staying put.

"We'll probably stay, watch it from the balcony up here," said Pennsylvania resident Shawn Cuomo.

Which is exactly what hotel and restaurant owners want to hear.

"We're looking forward to it coming and going very quickly. A minor storm from what we're hearing at this point and bracing for a beautiful Virginia Beach weekend," said Karen Lane with Gold Key P.H.R Hotels and Resorts.

Again the beaches are expected to be open Saturday through Labor Day Monday but whether or not you can get in the ocean remains a day by day situation. 

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