Hermine lingers offshore; Newton approaches Mexico
Hermine twisted hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, creating large waves in some southern New England beach waters that lured in surfers despite the rough surf and rip currents that kept most beachgoers away on the last day of the holiday weekend.
“These are more seasoned surfers who live for the thrill of these waves,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.
Hermine’s position Monday southeast of Nantucket created 20-foot waves and wind gusts of up to 50 kph about 55 miles southeast of the island, Buttrick said. Hermine was expected to stall over the water before weakening again.
Even as Hermine weakens, wind gusts of up to 50 mph were expected across Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts on Monday, Buttrick said.
Governors along the Eastern Seaboard announced emergency preparations. A tropical storm warning was in effect from New York’s Long Island to Massachusetts. New York officials extended beach closures beyond Labor Day because of continued deadly rip currents.
The New York Post said police issued $80 tickets to at least four surfers at the Rockaway Beach surf spot. An emergency worker who dived into the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island to save a swimmer who violated the ban told the Post the current felt like a “300-pound guy pulling me back out to sea.”
The waves eroded some of the shore, creating sand dune cliffs where kids climbed. Warnings of potentially dangerous riptides temporarily cleared the water Monday, but a couple of dozen beachgoers and a handful of surfers returned to the water in Atlantic City by the afternoon. A rougher surf cleared portions of the beachfront.
Hermine rose over the Gulf of Mexico and hit Florida on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm across Georgia. It has caused at least three deaths, inflicted widespread property damage and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people from Florida to Virginia.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Newton soaked Mexico’s western Pacific coast with heavy rain Monday and took aim at Baja California’s twin resorts of Los Cabos, where residents nailed plywood over windows and pulled in fishing boats while preparing for a possible direct hit two years after being slammed by a major storm.
Newton’s maximum sustained winds increased to 85 mph by early evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Category 1 storm was centered about 160 miles southeast of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and was moving northwest at 16 mph on a forecast path that would bring it near or over the area this morning.
Officials opened 18 shelters at schools in the two resorts and 38 more in other parts of Baja California Sur state, while warning people against panic buying.