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High risk of rip currents on South Shore

A slow-moving tropical storm on the Atlantic Ocean has brought rough surf and rip currents to South Shore ocean beaches throughout Monday and possibly Tuesday as well, the National Weather Service warns.

"Swells from distant Tropical Storm Leslie affect the coast" from southeastern Suffolk County, southern Nassau and across Queens and Brooklyn, forecasters said.

Due to rough surf, swimming is prohibited at Hither Hills State Park, while Jones Beach and Robert Moses Beach visitors are only permitted to wade up to the waist, park officials said.

Surf heights could range from 4 to 6 feet with "powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties and piers," an early morning Monday forecast said.

Tropical Storm Leslie passed a couple of hundred miles off Bermuda this weekend and headed north at around 16 mph toward Newfoundland where it may land with hurricane strength, forecasters said.

On Long Island's Atlantic beaches, authorities said, swimmers should heed the advice of lifeguards and beach officials about any surf hazards, pay attention to flags and posted signs, and swim in life guard areas.

If caught in a rip current, swimmers are urged to:

* Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.

* Never fight against the current.

* Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off and that you need to step to the side of.

* Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle -- away from the current -- toward shore.

* If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim toward shore.

* If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

With the AP

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