Beachgoers warned of dangerous conditions as Isaias passes Jacksonville

Jacksonville Beach saw wind, strong surf

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach saw wind and strong surf as Tropical Storm Isaias moved past on Monday.

Officials warned people of the dangerous conditions in the water.

“The danger is you may drown,” said Capt. Rob Emahiser, with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue.

Despite the high risk of rip currents, choppy water and high surf, people still came out to Jacksonville Beach.

“This isn’t the time to learn how to surf. This isn’t the time to learn how to swim in the ocean. That’s the thing to remember is this thing isn’t going to discriminate. It’s going to harm anybody that goes out there, so we’re encouraging everyone to take our advice,” Emahiser said. “Even after tomorrow, even later today, the weather is going to be nice; the conditions are still going to be very dangerous.”

People did come out to walk along Jacksonville Beach early Monday morning and into the afternoon. News4Jax spotted two kite surfers. (WJXT)

People did come out to walk the beach early Monday morning and into the afternoon. News4Jax spotted two kite surfers.

All weekend and into Monday, red flags flew Jacksonville’s beaches, warning swimmers of high surf and dangerous rip currents. While some did swim, the majority of people stayed out of the water on Monday.

On Saturday, lifeguards had to pull several people from the water. Sunday was much calmer for crews, who said the sand was much less crowded and people seemed to be staying a safe distance out in the water. Lifeguards said they didn’t have to make any water rescues on Sunday.

“It’s pretty challenging to just hold your grip even in the sand,” surfer Sam Hayden said Sunday.

Experienced surfers said the currents can drag you under in a second if you’re not careful.

“If you’re on the right side of the pier and you were just to paddle out right there, you’d probably get pulled right through,” Hayden said.

Outside of dangerous water conditions, Jacksonville Beach remained relatively calm as Tropical Storm Isaias made its way up Florida’s east coast. Gusty winds coupled with light drizzle were other notable weather patterns as the storm passed.

Vacationers and locals alike were breathing a sigh of relief that Isais stayed further away from Jacksonville.

“We ain’t too much worried,” vacationer Divie Martin said Sunday. “We’re just gonna sit here and enjoy our vacation for a little bit longer and head back home.”

A local state of emergency was not issued for Jacksonville or the beaches like has been the case in some neighboring counties, and Jacksonville beaches were not closed to swimming. Jacksonville Beach had electrical crews are on standby in case of power outages.

And while the area didn’t see damaging or flooding effects from Isaias, the community is reminded to stay vigilant during hurricane season.

About the Authors: