Hurricane Lee brings waves perilously close to NJ concert stage
🌀Hurricane Lee is well to the east of New Jersey and the east coast
🌀Heavy surf has been pounding the shore all week
🌀Toms River joins Seaside Heights in ticketing swimmers
Hurricane Lee is staying east of New Jersey but its heavy surf is having impacts on the Jersey Shore.
New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said Friday is the peak day for the impact for Lee with wave heights over 10 feet, a strong rip current and pounding surf.
"It's been a long time since I've seen a surf forecast this intense for the Jersey Shore. Ocean wave heights are 8 to 10+ feet Friday, as Hurricane Lee makes its closest pass," Zarrow said.
Beachgoers threatened with expensive tickets
Toms River joined Seaside Heights in threatening swimmers with tickets for entering the ocean through Sunday. Police Chief Mitch Little, who is also the township's Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, said no swimming will be permitted while the high risk of rip currents remains. Violators risk a disorderly person's offense.
Beaches will be open and lifeguards on duty all weekend, according to Little.
Swimming was prohibited Friday in Atlantic City due to the rough ocean. The city's beach patrol will make a decision on Saturday about continuing the ban or letting people possibly go in knee-high.
Zarrow said that even as Lee continues north, the storm's impact will still be felt.
"Keep in mind, the ocean is not going to become dead calm immediately after Lee's passage. Rough surf and rip current concerns will continue for several more days, if not weeks," Zarrow said.
Concert by the ocean
Crews preparing the stages at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival in Asbury Park are keeping an eye on the ocean as the waves crash several feet from the edge of the of the main stage. During high tide, some light towers were surrounded by water.
Bulldozers were pushing sand up against the stage to protect it from the ocean. Workers also said they were preparing to put up fencing to keep concertgoers from the ocean.
A representative for the City of Asbury Park on Friday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
On the road again
New Jersey's Task Force-1 deployed 45 members of their Team 3 Thursday to New England where they will stage in Warwick, Rhode Island. They will await a possible assignment to eastern Maine where Lee will have the worst impact with winds gusting to 65 mph with some coastal flooding.
There is concern for power outages as recent heavy rains have saturated the ground making it easier for the wind to blow trees onto power lines.
The same team was sent to South Carolina in August to help with Hurricane Idalia relief in Florida but was never deployed.