Beach conditions expected to worsen as Hurricane Florence draws closer to east coast

- Volusia County beach safety officials say 13 people were rescued from the ocean Sunday. 

The red flags were flying because of big waves and rip currents, and lifeguards say conditions are expected to worsen over the next week.  

“They look small from out here, but they’re definitly bigger out there,” said Kate Barbier about the waves. 

She got her surf board into the water and brought a friend to try it out for the first time. 

“There was one wave that hit me under and when I surfaced, she was like 30 feet away from me! I was like, ‘What happened! Where am I,’” said first time surfer Lauren Jaffe. 

Volusia County beach safety officials say they’re dealing with rough conditions because Hurricane Florence is approaching the east coast of the U.S. 

“We may miss the storm itself, but we will definitely get the impacts from the surf and the surge, and we will experience high tides,” said Captain Andrew Ethridge, of Volusia County Beach Safety.  

Ethridge says lifeguards pulled an unresponsive 64-year-old man out of the water Sunday afternoon and he later died. The cause of death is pending. 

He also says two people were hurt when they were tossed around in the waves. 

A surfer ended up with an injured neck and a woman fractured her arm. 

“A mother was down just playing in the waves and got slammed by a wave and driven into the bottom, so that kind of gives you an indication of how strong these waves are and the impact it can have,” Ethridge said. 

Conditions on the beach are expected to get even more dangerous over the next week. 

While waves were 3-4 feet in Volusia County Sunday, Edridge says toward the end of the week, they’re expected to be 6-9 feet. 

Lifeguards want people to know the risks that will come with getting in the water. 

“I don’t go past the limits of what I feel I can handle. I respect the ocean,” said beachgoer KC Coyne. 

Officials say you should always swim near a lifeguard stand while at the beach. 

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