Volusia Beach Patrol warns of rough surf and rip currents

Heavy surf pounded the Daytona Beach sand on Wednesday, and hidden rip currents lurked in the water. Visitors said they felt the powerful waves. 

"They're pretty forceful," said Christine Hamilton, visiting from Jacksonville, "I had one hit me in the gut earlier, and it felt like a football player tackled me, my kids are like are you okay? I'm like I gotta go up!"

Meteorologists say the impact of what was Hurricane Earl are creating strong rip currents and high waves, and it’s only going to get worse with future Tropical Storm Fiona’s impact likely coming in the next week. Beach patrol said they've seen the water get rougher.

"Right now we're looking at 3-5 foot surf, flying the red flag for hazardous rip current conditions. We'll be flying the red flag throughout the weekend, actually. We do expect the rip current conditions to strengthen," said Volusia County Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Tamra Malphurs.

Beach Patrol rescued seven people from the water on Tuesday, they say big waves sent two people to the hospital. "One was a spinal injury, the other one was a possible dislocation," Malphurs said.

Malphurs said as the waves subside, the rip current risk actually gets worse. "When we have high-surf conditions, it does make more breaks in the sand bar, causing those channels very conducive to rip current conditions."

Beach Patrol says the best advice for visitors was to always swim in front of a lifeguard. 

JR Hellander, visiting from Utah, said it was scary out there. "I covered my neck, made myself kind of a ball-shape, hoping I would roll. It got me pretty good!"