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Rough waves not necessarily bad news for beaches

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Lifeguards along the Jersey Shore are preparing for more rough surf conditions from another hurricane.

Dozens of swimmers had to be rescued over the weekend after being caught in rip currents caused by Hurricane Danielle. The ocean is relatively calm now in some shore communities, but Atlantic City beach patrol assistant chief Bob Brown says there are concerns for later in the week when Hurricane Earl may churn up the surf.

“There are very small swells but come I guess Thursday we ought to be expecting larger seas. I’ve heard as much as 20 feet by the weekend but that remains to be seen.”

While it may cause restrictions for swimmers, Hurricane Earl might not result in beach erosion along the Jersey shore. Jon Miller at Stevens Institute of Technology monitors coastal conditions. He says if the storm produces big swells it could push some sand back on the beach.

“If they’re really big swell waves, the long period waves act to help push some of the sand bars back onto the beach. My guess would be that since the storm is supposed to pass so far offshore that we’ll actually potentially see some beach accretion in some locations.”

Officials say it’s still too soon to tell exactly where the hurricane will go and how high the waves may get along the Jersey coast.

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