With Hurricane Leslie churning up waters in the North Atlantic, there is a high risk of rip currents for the southern shore beaches of Long Island, starting Thursday and running to Monday, the National Weather Service said.
Although the tropical storm system, upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday, is hundreds of miles east of Bermuda, its tremendous force will be generating waves up and down the East Coast for several days, the weather service said. Significant beach erosion also is likely, the statement said.
Strong rip currents likely will continue through Monday as swells from Hurricane Leslie affect the coast, the weather service said in a rip-current statement issued Thursday.
If caught in a rip current, the agency urges swimmers 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.
The high risk of rip currents includes Nassau and Suffolk counties and parts of Queens and Brooklyn, the service said.
The conditions also mean three Long Island state parks on the Atlantic Ocean are closed to swimming, state officials said.
"Due to the slow movement of this storm we are unsure as to when swimming will be reauthorized," at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Hither Hills state parks, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said in a news release Wednesday.
While swimming is prohibited, parks will be open with lifeguards on duty who will prevent people from going into the water, said George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director for state parks.
The three parks were scheduled to be available to swimmers until Sept. 16. Sunken Meadow State Park on the North Shore remains open to swimmers.