PROVIDENCE — The state Department of Environmental Management issued a high surf warning Wednesday because of the large swells forecast from Tropical Storm Erin in the westerly Atlantic Ocean.
Although the storm is expected to remain well offshore of New England, the National Weather Service is forecasting high waves and dangerous rip currents at ocean-exposed south-facing shorelines, including the beaches in Narragansett, Charlestown, and Westerly, over the next several days. Breakers ranging from 3 feet to 5 feet high are expected in Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. However, individual waves, could be more than twice the average wave height, the department said.
DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement estimated that there were about 40 to 50 fishermen at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown on Tuesday. Along with some of the anglers, “storm watchers” put themselves in danger by standing too close to the surf on rocks along the shoreline in fishing areas, breakwalls, and breachways, the department said.
DEM is urging Rhode Islanders to stay safe by remaining far away from areas where waves might splash over. Waves possess enormous force and can easily sweep a person into the water from what seems to be a safe viewing area. On Oct. 27, 2018, the DEM pointed out, a couple from Quincy, Mass., died off Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown; the woman was swept off a rock while fishing close to rough surf, and her husband also drowned while trying to save her.
The department said that in addition of high waves on the ocean shore, swells entering some inlets and harbor entrances could cause difficult navigation for operators of small craft.