Lifeguards closing water on Hilton Head

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WTOC) - Lifeguards closed the water on Hilton Heal but folks are definitely watching the forecast and also watching the tide. That goes for locals as well as the visitors.

The surf has gotten heavier throughout the day.

But that hasn’t stopped people from coming to look at the storm as it slowly gets closer.

In addition to the locals, many of them are part time residents. Many say they were already here when Ian changed direction and put the South Carolina coast in its sights.

They’re also watching and waiting, deciding what to do next.

“I’m ready to rearrange our flight if I need to. I’m not going to really worry. I just like looking at it,” Visitor from Kentucky Jim Tilburg said.

As Tropical Storm Ian is making it’s way to the Lowcountry, Hilton Head Island is expected to see some the more severe weather from Tropical Storm Ian.

Despite the weather to come, a good bit of travelers are at Coligny Beach getting a peak of the pre storm conditions.

“We were headed towards Beaufort and just decided to come down here and see what the water looks like.”

Visiting from California and planning this trip for months, the Safers and the Wises are worried yet intrigued to see how Ian is impacting the island. Michelle Safer says she’s never been in the midst of a hurricane before.

“You can’t even see the blue water. It’s just churned up it’s really scary.”

Lifeguards here expecting the tides to continue rising and urging people to stay out of the water.

“Well you can see out a little further as the waves come in at time the water would hit the waves and you can see the splash just shoot up straight into the air. I find it interesting.”

The couples next destination planned for this trip is Charleston where Ian may be headed next.

“You start off one way and all of a sudden different things happen. So, it’s an adventure I think. You kind of have to roll with it to see what happens.”

Other tourists say they are having to change their plan.

Some locals say they aren’t too concerned about the storm coming but they are looking out to see how the rain and wind may pick up Friday.

Hilton Head’s emergency management team, county and state officials are expecting conditions to look different Friday, worse than Thursday.

“We had a high tide at noon today...Thursday. The beaches were flooded. We recommend people stay off the beach. There’s going to be erosion. There’s going to be flooding. In the low lying areas especially we do expect storm surge...tropical storm force winds so we’re monitoring the storm overnight and hopefully have a better idea of what it looks like tomorrow,” said Public Safety Director Major Robert Bromage.

The town’s general manager of shore beach services says they’re also watching Ian closely and home is the safest place for people to be.

“I think tomorrow we’re gonna see an increase in surf, we’re gonna see an increase of wind, more than likely we’ll have a rain event in our area so really the message is stay off the beach,” said Shore Beach Services general manager Alan Reece.

Hilton Head and Beaufort County have been through Hurricane Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017 so they know how to prepare and they train all year.

Stick with WTOC for updates.

We will continue to bring you the latest details on this storm and its impact and what you need to do to stay safe.