Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Skinny on RIP Currents, post-Sandy

Dr. Jon Miller of the Stevens Institute of Technology says Sandy wreaked havoc on the ocean floor - which will lead to unexpected Rip currents. And by the way, it's National Rip Currents Awareness Week.

The Skinny on RIP Currents, post-Sandy


(Photo courtesty of Dr. Tom Harrington of Stevens Institute of Technology, via NOAA website).

So, it's Rip Current Awareness Week in the United States of America and in New Jersey, that inevitably leads to talk of Hurricane Sandy. It seems that in addition to ripping up homes and boardwalks and flooding homes and businesses, the storm rearranged the ocean floor. Severely eroded beaches mean sandbars off shore, which mean rip currents. The built up sandbars are further off shore than normal, which, as the surfer dude students in Dr. Jon Miller's Stevens Institute Classes on beach erosion have informed him. is excellent news for surfers. Creates longer and more sustained waves to surf in, and because they are forming further off shore, keeps the newbies out of the water. So good for the surfers. However, the lifeguards will have their hands full, warns Miller. Sandy's handiwork means rip currents in unexpected places, which the lifeguards will have to scope out on a daily basis. "It will be challenging to keep swimmers safe," he said. "A lot of the beach erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy uncovered a lot of jetties and groins and will lead to rip currents. It's just going to be different, that's the key. It's going to be different for lifeguards and for people coming to the beach."

As always, the advice is the same: never swim alone, never swim in unguarded beaches. If caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to the beach to get out of the current, so it doesn't suck you out to sea. But don't take my word for it. Here's audio of a public service announcement by Olympic swimmer Ian Crocker.

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About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg has covered Philly police, city neighborhoods, Ed Rendell as mayor, the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Miss America and the psychology of Eagles fans. She moved to Ventnor on July 3, 1995, which makes her a local, but not really.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Urgo has spent every summer of her life at the Jersey Shore, and has lived there year-round for nearly 30 years, even fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams by once living in a house by the sea.

Since 1990, she has covered the waterfront for The Inquirer — from the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay shore — and some of the mainland in between. Along the way, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of this tear-it-down-and-build-it-back-up region, delving into the history and the hype of a place with a lot of unexpected stories to tell.

Amy S. Rosenberg
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