Hurricane Larry is hundreds of miles southeast of New Jersey, but is causing dangerous rip currents along the Shore.

The rough waters are happening at a time when many beaches have ended life guarding for the season or may only have patrols out on the weekend, even as area residents plan to enjoy the post-Labor Day "local summer" span through September.

"That powerful storm (once a major hurricane) has been spitting out some big waves and churning up the entire Atlantic basin. That long period swell is expected to continue through at least Friday, and possibly into the weekend too," said New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol Captain Randy Townsend doesn't recommend going into the water unsupervised.

"I know a lot of beaches around the state are offering some kind of skeleton crew service. You have a beach or two set up where you can swim in front of a lifeguard that's going to observe and monitor not only you but the conditions," Townsend told New Jersey 101.5. "If you're an unexperienced swimmer please don't go in the water at all."

Larry is affecting surf up and down the East Coast, as far north as the Gulf of Maine.

Donn Hoosack of Stafford Township told the Press of Atlantic City the 10 foot waves with 17 second swells are like "Christmas in September" for New Jersey surfers, as he expects to see fellow surfers hitting the beach.

Townsend struck a more serious tone and said these conditions are only for the experienced boogie border or surfer, especially on Friday and Saturday.

"It's definitely a great opportunity for those who have enough skills and experience to enjoy the surf out there. I recommend anyone at an intermediate or beginner level of any water sport to enter the water cautiously. Conditions will be extremely rough," Townsend said.

Zarrow said rip currents in early September are not unusual, as it is the climatological peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Weather Service advises if you do get caught in a rip current:

    • Remain calm
    • Don't fight the current
    • Think of a rip current like a treadmill you can't turn off. You want to step to the side.
    • Swim across the current in a direction following the shoreline
    • When out of the current swim and angle away from the current and toward shore.
    • If you can’t escape the rip try to float, or calmly tread water. Rip current
      strength eventually subsides offshore. When it does, swim toward shore.
    • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw atten-
      tion to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
Sign advising how to escape from rip currents
Sign advising how to escape from rip currents (National Weather Service)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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