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Hurricanes Irma, José create rip currents, big waves on LI

Hurricane Irma delivered rip currents and big waves to Long Island this weekend, restricting swimming at state beaches but sending surfers to grab their wet suits.

Rip currents were “severe to extreme” Saturday and “moderate to strong” Sunday, forecasters said.

While Irma’s effects locally are likely over, Hurricane José, which is trailing close behind in the Atlantic, will continue to affect Long Island’s Atlantic Ocean beaches.

“With Hurricane José in the Atlantic, we could still see some strong rip currents for the next week as well,” said Joe Pollina, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Upton.

The effects of Irma led state officials to limit swimming areas to in front of lifeguard stands close to the shore Saturday at the four beaches where lifeguards remain on duty until Sept. 17, said George Gorman Jr., state parks deputy regional director for Long Island. The affected beaches are Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Sunken Meadow and Hither Hills state parks. The state relaxed some of the restrictions Sunday.

“We’re still seeing the effects. We are concerned because Hurricane José is right behind Irma. We’re waiting and seeing,” Gorman said.

Cool air temperatures kept most beachgoers out of the water anyway, he said.

But for surfers, Saturday presented fine surfing conditions.

Trevor Lecaros, store manager at Pilgrim Surf + Supply in Amagansett, said waves Saturday were 4 to 6 feet, with occasional 8-foot swells in places. Sunday’s waves topped out at 4 or 5 feet.

“Nothing crazy, nothing too wild,” Lecaros said. “It was a little bittersweet because a lot of surfers have family in Florida.”

Dave Samuhel, an AccuWeather senior meteorologist in State College, Pennsylvania, said while the weekend waves and rip currents came from Irma, the swells radiating out from José will reach Long Island on Monday night and Tuesday.

Waves this week are projected to be about 5 feet high with José stalled for the next few days, he said.

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