Tybee surfers enjoy Florence's waves despite warnings

Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 at 4:51 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - The City of Tybee Island is warning people to stay out of the ocean. On Wednesday, lifeguards started flying double red flags prohibiting swimmers from entering the water.

"The surf is really rough right now and it's going to continue to get tougher over the weekend as the storm approaches," Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen said.

The city manager says it's possible the island could see minimal weather impacts from Hurricane Florence if the storm decides to keep west, but the conditions in the water could be another story.

"The riptides are going to be really bad, so we put up the double red flags to keep people out," he said.

Those flags aren't keeping surfers away from these waves. Surfers like Jack Simmons arrived early to Tybee Thursday to try to take advantage of the larger waves.

"All surfers on the East Coast are always watching these storms, that's what gives us our waves. So, this time of year we are looking for storms," Simmons said.

People watched from the shore and from the pier as surfer after surfer ran into the ocean despite the double red flags.

"I can't imagine that conditions out here would ever get bad enough where surfers would be nervous about it," Simmons said.

If the sunshine continues through the weekend, Gillen says he hopes people will enjoy the beach but keep away from the water.

"They can come and enjoy the beach. We may have some nice weather over the next 48 hours, but keep away from the water," the city manager said.

Several lifeguards will be on duty throughout the weekend asking people to stay out of the water. As for surfers or anyone else who tries to get in the water, the city manager says lifeguards will not enter the water for rescues when the double red flags are being flown.

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