Tropical Storm Arthur is expected to churn up hazardous rip currents along Georgia beaches even if it remains at sea while passing the state's coastline.
The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm's center will stay at least 100 miles from the Georgia coast early Thursday as it moves north toward the Carolinas. But forecasters warned Wednesday that turbulent seas left in Arthur's wake could pose a danger to swimmers during a busy Fourth of July weekend.
And while the tropical storm warning for offshore waters was dropped on Wednesday afternoon, small craft advisories with heightened seas and swells with occasional winds gusts to gale force (34 knots), particularly in the 40 to 60 nautical mile range through 11 a.m. Thursday.
Up to 30,000 visitors are expected on Tybee Island this weekend. Mayor Jason Buelterman says lifeguards will be flying warning flags at the beach Thursday and Friday and the city plans to post a roadside sign alerting visitors to beware of rip currents. Lifeguards could close the water to swimmers if necessary.
In Hilton Health Island, just across the border from Tybee Island, most were confident the stormwould pass well out at sea.
"It will be a sold-out weekend," said Charlie Clark, a spokeswoman for the local Chamber of Commerce. "... We're not getting calls from visitors asking what's up with this storm."