KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) — Dare County officials are telling residents and tourists to stay out of the ocean as Hurricane Lee makes its way to this side of the Atlantic.
The storm is expected to bring life-threatening rip currents, coastal flooding and more to the area.
10 On Your Side meteorologists said there’s a high surf advisory through Saturday night, with a potential for waves to be seven-to-12 feet tall.
Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue Assistant Supervisor Ben Battaile said Tuesday that his crews were already bracing for Lee’s impact to the beach.
“Today we’re on high alert,” he said. “With the National Weather Service saying high alert for rips we’re flying the yellow flag, dangerous current flag, we’ve got five roving beach patrol guards on four-wheelers today and they’re making advisories as needed.”
While he’s worried about beach goer’s safety, he’s also concerned about how his lifeguard stands will fare in the storm, with ocean over wash on the way.
“I’m actually concerned for our lifeguard stands right now,” Battaile said. “The swell is supposed to get around 10 feet and that’s the buoy data. So, 10-foot swell two miles out can mean it’ll get bigger once it hits the shore.”
He outlined what his crews will do to make sure their stands don’t topple over in the storm.
“Sometimes we’ll push sand into the accesses to keep water from coming over the dune,” he said. “We’re going to more than likely pull our lifeguard stands back behind the dune line.”
This storm reminded him of what his team had to do when Hurricane Idalia hit.
“We were having calls,” Battaile said. “We were having rescues left and right.”
But he doesn’t expect it to be the same for Hurricane Lee.
“With a swell like that when it’s really really big, people tend to stay out of the ocean,” he said. “We’ll be flying red flags, we’ll be monitoring conditions and trying to keep people out.”
The upcoming storm didn’t faze new locals Alice and Bill James.
“We might come down here,” Alice James said. “I don’t know if we’ll go in the water. We’re not surfers or anything like that, but we’ll still be down here.”
However, they said that the frequency of storms hitting the Outer Banks’ waters affected where they bought their home.
“We were a little worried about being on the beachfront, so we’re a little bit off the water,” they said.
Battaile had some advice for how everyone can be safe when Lee’s effects come to the area.
“No matter where you are,” he said, “life jackets for the little ones, check your forecast, look for the flags, swim near a lifeguard, and if there’s an emergency, call 911.”