Decision to close Tybee beaches will depend on conditions this weekend

Decision to close Tybee beaches will depend on conditions this weekend

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Determining the track of Tropical Storm Isaias is proving difficult. There are a lot of external factors that will contribute to the storm’s exact path.

Tybee Island leaders are monitoring conditions closely and will decide to close the beach this weekend if the need arises. The Tybee Island city manager and fire chief say that decision will be made later if required.

The fire chief stated that double red flags, meaning people would not be allowed in the water, could happen on Sunday or Monday, but a final decision has not been made yet.

“Stronger currents, rips, more erosion on the beach and just nastier water conditions in general,” said Interim Fire Chief Matt Harrell.

WTOC Meteorologist Cutter Martin says rough seas, windy beach conditions and dangerous rip currents are absolutely something that’s likely this weekend and on Monday. Chief Harrell says he wants people to know coming to the beach on Sunday, in particular, is too much of a risk.

"I wouldn't recommend being out here on Sunday. I wouldn't recommend being in the water Sunday. When the conditions are that bad, even if you're a great swimmer or even an Olympic style swimmer, you're not going to be able to overpower the power of the ocean."

Harrell says recently he has seen a lot of rip currents on either side of the pier. He reminds people to pay attention to the lifeguard flags before getting into the water.

"Yellow is kind of a cautionary where you really need to pay attention and that we see some potential for bad weather or bad water conditions. Once we go red that's really a recommendation to stay out of the water."

Harrell says he expects that they'll fly double red flags on Sunday meaning the water is closed for any swimming.

"If you start getting pulled and you're getting pulled out as you're trying to swim in, that means you got caught in a rip. The best thing to do is literally not panic and you can swim parallel to the beach."

Longtime resident, Marie Rodriguez's house is flood prone and it's one of 50 on the island that will be raised 12 feet in the air. Rodriguez says during hurricane season this will be a huge help.

“It will make a big difference and I won’t have to worry about my whole house being under water anymore. I mean that is an absolute nightmare,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says for a storm, like Isaias, she's not too worried about getting damage, but she is always prepared for whatever may come this time of year.

“For my mom and myself I have our important papers, our passports and stuff all in one place ready to go.”

The fire chief also reminds people to stay away from the sandbars. He says it’s a dangerous area even on a calm day.

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