• Hurricane Florence: Beach erosion, rip currents expected to impact Central Fla. beaches

    By: Kelly Healey , Sarahbeth Ackerman , Melonie Holt , Mike Springer

    Updated:

    CENTRAL FLORIDA - Hurricane Florence will stay hundreds of miles away from Central Florida, but the storm will still impact the Central Florida coastline. 

    Past hurricanes have caused a lot of damage to beaches in Flagler County. 

    Hurricane Matthew wiped out sand dunes along Flagler Beach. Since January, Flagler County has been hauling sand, hoping to rebuild the dunes. 

    Six miles have been built up and six more should be completed by early next year. But that's only if the dunes do not get wiped out again.

    While Hurricane Florence won't be making a direct hit on Central Florida, damaging waters are expected.

    The Latest Hurricane Florence track

     

    In Brevard and Volusia counties, Ocean Rescue is warning beach visitors of high tides and rip currents. Red flags will fly, warning people of the risk.

     

    By Thursday evening, waves were nearly hitting the top of the pier.

     

    The surf is building as well. It could get up to 9 feet high.

     

    Read: 15 safety tips that could save your life during a storm

     

    Beachgoers in Volusia County said the current was especially strong. 

     

    “It’s pushing you toward the shore,” said Mike Kennedy. “I wouldn’t recommend going out too far, but it’s not too bad if you just wade in a few feet.” 

     

    Brevard County beachgoers felt it too. 

     

    It's a little treacherous. I didn't go too depp because I was afraid I was going to get sucked away," said Billie Pryor. 

     

    Brevard County Ocean rescue said the surf peaked overnight, but conditions are still conducive for rip currents.

    There was one rescue Thursday afternoon and additional staff are on duty to keep others out of harm’s way.

    “Currently, we're looking at 5 to 8 feet surf. A lot dropped off with the intensity of Florence. So, the surf is not as big as we expected,” said Chief Eisen Witcher.

    Meanwhile in Flagler County, officials said they are expecting beach erosion and bracing for it.

     

    “I don't think it will ever replenish itself, so, we have to go in and protect our homes and businesses,” a Flagler County resident said.

     

    Officials said the water levels and tide will be very high from Thursday into weekend.

     

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