Hazardous swimming conditions expected Thursday as Tropical Storm Gabrielle swell peaks

    Long period swell generated by Tropical Storm Gabrielle arrived along the New Jersey coastline Wednesday afternoon.

    The swell is expected to peak Thursday and slowly decrease Friday. While waves are not expected to build much beyond three feet, they will be powerful, according to SurfInfo.com, a swell forecasting service. 

    The strong waves will create hazardous swimming conditions at the many unguarded beaches.

    “The long period swells are anticipated to bring at least a moderate risk of rip currents for Thursday, and the threat may linger into Friday,” a National Weather Service-Mount Holly forecast discussion advises.

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    The National Weather Service defines a moderate rip current risk as wave conditions supporting “stronger or more frequent rip currents,” advising that “only experienced surf swimmers should enter the water.”

    Long period swells travel far distances over the open ocean, containing more energy than weaker, locally generated wind swells, according to Surfline.com.

    Tropical Storm Gabrielle will remain in the open ocean en route to the Canadian Maritimes, according to the latest National Hurricane Center guidance. 

    Elsewhere, the first hurricane of the 2013 Atlantic season formed early Wednesday. 

    Hurricane Humberto, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, is expected to remain over the ocean before dissipating.

    Forecasters call Hurricane Humberto a “fish storm” since it will not impact land.

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