Volusia County expects rip currents, strong waves

Beach Patrol warning beachgoers to be safe

Published On: May 27 2012 01:19:16 PM EDT   Updated On: May 27 2012 10:45:03 PM EDT

For the thousands hitting the beaches this Memorial Day weekend, there is no doubt Tropical Storm Beryl is on his way with strong winds and waves that have already injured dozens.

Volusia County lifeguards said surfers crashed into the rocks and they had to pull 150 people out of the water on Saturday. The waves were nowhere near as strong as they were by Sunday afternoon, some came in 10 feet tall by noon and the storm is only expected to get stronger by landfall Sunday evening.

Despite the wind and the waves, the chance for a break in the clouds was enough to draw people to the beach. Most hoped to catch some sun before Beryl barrels his way ashore. But even seasoned surfers are taking a second look before diving in.

"Whenever you're paddling out there and the waves are just crushing you, it's tough to get out," said Matt Grochalski. "That's when I know, nope, time to go back in."

Lifeguards are warning everyone that the waters have already become dangerous.

"We're asking people to come and look if they're coming over. Knee deep, thigh deep, is about it -- it doesn't take much. One of these big clean-up sets comes through and you're in waist-deep water and it can literally pick you up and drive you headfirst into the bottom and that has happened already in the past couple of days," said Scott Petersohn, with Volusia County Beach Patrol.

It's why adults are keeping a close eye on their children.

"I was telling him now to only go up to his knees," said Patti Houser as she watched her grandson play in the choppy water in Daytona Beach. "You don't know how strong it gets, how quick it gets strong, and that's why it's so dangerous."

With the waves being as high as they already are, lifeguards expect the rip currents to be a problem through the week, even when the water becomes calm again once Beryl pushes back into the Atlantic.