GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Three weeks into hurricane season, and newcomers like Bryan Jones of Foley are getting their first taste of what a tropical system can do to this part of the Gulf Coast. “I think it’s beautiful the waves and all,” he says.
That beauty can be deadly even without a direct hit from a storm. “The dirty side, the east side that we’re going to be on, we’re going to get significant rainfall, higher than normal surf conditions, deadly rip currents,” Gulf Shores spokesman Grant Brown said.
That’s why double red flags are up along all Alabama beaches closing the gulf waters to swimmers. The surf already building to what is expected to be seven to 11 foot waves at the height of the storm. “We’ve lost lives, significant lives this year already,” says Brown, “and we don’t want anybody that comes in town or visits here to enter waters and end up not being able to go home.”
For newcomers or the newly-engaged like Chris Martin and Amanda Cambron, the first storm of the season is expected to be a weekend washout and hopefully nothing more. “It’s still going to be a great weekend,” Martin said. “Still a happy weekend.”
The Gulf waters are expected to remain closed to swimmers at least through Saturday and maybe into Sunday. Those who refuse to stay out of the water could face fines and even jail time.