Hurricane Joaquin still affecting coastal areas this weekend

Hurricane Joaquin still affecting coastal areas this weekend

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Even though we're not going to see a significant impact from Hurricane Joaquin, we'll definitely feel its presence on our coastal areas.

If you're heading out to Tybee Island this weekend, expect to see a double red flag warning as choppy water and strong currents churn off the Georgia coast.

Being an overcast, windy day definitely diminished the beach population. But there are still some folks, and that has Tybee Fire and Ocean Rescue crews on alert through the weekend.

The chop created by an offshore storm can be enticing for anyone who enjoys different types of water sports.

"Definitely. The wind and the waves, whenever there's a storm off shore, it just makes everything so much better," said Kasey Wright, wind surfer.

Wright says even still, he'll respect the double red flag warning and all that it represents.

"It just makes you take more caution and pay attention to the conditions. And you've just got to be a little more careful and safe with what you're doing," said Wright.

"It looks a little wicked right now. But it's not as bad as I expected. It still looks like it's under control through here," said Lucy Cordle, visiting Tybee.

WTOC's Sean Evans asked her, "Good enough to take a dip?"

"Absolutely not," Cordle responded.

Tybee Island Fire and Ocean Rescue doesn't want anyone getting in the water to swim. Chief Fields says the only people permitted to be in the water with that warning out, will be those that have a board, something that floats, tethered to them.

"We are going to be flying a double red flag. We asked the swimmers please stay out of the water. The rip currents will be very strong," said Chief Fields. "Basically, they call it a leash. It's like a surfboard, or a boogie board, that's got the leash that's connected. You've got some kind a flotation device. Those are the people that we allow out in the water."

Having that tether is actually a city ordinance on Tybee. You have to have it. If lifeguards see you taking a dip, they'll make you come back in.

Chief Fields says his department has a lifeguard crew that will be on hand this weekend because of the storm offshore that's creating the dangerous rip currents, even though lifeguard season ended this week. He says he's been in touch with Chatham County Emergency Management Friday to go over the issues they think they'll encounter this weekend.

"Basically, what we need to look out for is going to be a lot of floods here. The strong rip currents, heavy waves, a lot of rain tomorrow, I believe it's four to six inches that we are expecting here. With 10 foot high tides that's never a good thing," said Chief Fields.

The projected tides Saturday and Sunday look like they will be above seven feet, but again, that is in addition to significant rainfall that will have County Emergency Management officials keeping an eye out for flooding, especially on Highway 80 around Fort Pulaski this weekend.

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