Tropical Storm Alberto affecting area beaches

Red flags fly high at Jacksonville Beach

Those who did try to have fun in the ocean say the waves were just too strong.
Those who did try to have fun in the ocean say the waves were just too strong.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Tropical Storm Alberto is not expected to reach Florida, but it is affecting beaches in the Sunshine State as it spins offshore.

At midday Monday, Tropical Storm Alberto is moving east as it spins about 175 miles east of Jacksonville.  Alberto's maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, with some weaking expected over the next two days.

"An environment of dry air surrounding the storm, plus a movement towards cooler waters of the coastal shelf, will make it difficult for this storm to grow any stronger," Channel 4 hurricane expert George Winterling wrote on his Eye on the Storm blog.


Alberto is expected to turn northeastward Monday night and Tuesday.  On its current track, Alberto is expected to stay offshore of the Georgia and Carolinas coast the next few days.

High surf and some potentially dangerous rip currents kept some out of the water over the weekend.

On Jacksonville Beach Sunday, red flags indicating high surf and/or strong currents were flying high.

TRACK THE STORM: JustWeather.com/hurricane
BLOG: George Winterling's eye on the storm | SLIDESHOW: Surf's up

"Yeah, it's a quick drift, definitely," said Nicole Emerson.

Emerson, 16, a surfer, said it had been exhausting fighting the current.

"People would drift so quick. Like, you'll just see boogie boarders or something right in front of you, and then the next, they're at the next tower. Like, people just come and go, the current is just so fast," she said.

The strong current and 4-foot swells are a product of Tropical Storm Alberto, the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

One mother tried playing in the water with her son but said the waves were too much.

"They're rough. They're tough," said Carnin Atkins.

Life Guard Lt. James Lentz said his crew had been on alert all weekend.

"Some of them can pull pretty strong. It's definitely always a good idea to swim with somebody. Swim in front of a lifeguard and if you do get caught in a rip current, don't panic, and just kind of let the long shore current take you, swim parallel to the shore," said Lentz.

Lentz said there hadn't been an unusual amount of rescues.