DEERFIELD BEACH (CBSMiami) – South Florida beachgoers are being told to stay out of the water due to dangerous rip currents as Hurricane Sandy moves north.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the east coast of Florida and beachgoers should obey all beach warning flags.
South Florida beaches are flying double red flags, which mean the beach is closed.
While South Florida was spared the brunt of this storm, there have been squalls of heavy rain and extremely high wind and wind gusts causing beach erosion, especially along Deerfield Beach, where pieces of the fishing pier have actually broken off due to the power of the crashing waves.
“The waves are just massive and rolling in from the ocean,” said Virginia tourist Chris Gutz.
The waves reached 12 feet high at times as they crashed into the pier. Deerfield Beach Ocean Rescue officials said the pier is closing because the strong water broke several wooden planks.
“They were asking any patrons that had any debris if they noticed while walking on the shoreline to let the lifeguards know because there are nails and such,” said Captain Mike Brown of Deerfield Beach Ocean Rescue.
Despite the double red flag warning folks to stay out of the water, surfers with leashes and body boarders with fins are allowed to attempt this dangerous surf.
“The currents will pull you all the way down, back to Pompano,” said surfer Adam Downs. He was the first surfer in the water Friday morning and was back out ten minutes later.
For Mike Donnelly, surfing conditions proved dangerous as well.
“About half way out, too big of a swell, couldn’t really go under, and the board came up and hit me in the head,” said Donnelly.
For 8-year-old spectator Adam Thomason, he and his little brother Logan, some smart advice.
“Do not go surfing in the water because you don’t want to be swept out to sea and drown,” said Thomason.
It’s the power of the churning sea that brought spectators to see the hand of Mother Nature fast at work.
“I’ve come to Florida so many times and every time there’s something new that Florida has to offer and this is just another example of the great things in Florida,” said Gutz.
Deerfield Beach has already suffered a significant amount of erosion in the last 24 hours. Ocean rescue officials said the beach has lost at least 5 to 10 feet so far.
The Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier will remain closed until further notice. The Pompano Beach Fishing Pier is also closed.