The RNLI is urging the public to visit a lifeguarded beach and heed their advice as a huge swell is forecast to hit exposed areas of the south west from Wednesday onwards. The swell is being generated by the combination of a storm and big low pressure in the north Atlantic and coincides with strong winds which are predicted to create potentially dangerous sea conditions.
The start of the half term week has seen a huge increase in the number of people using the beaches around the south west. This weekend, RNLI lifeguards patrolling 27 beaches across the region have been working extremely hard to keep water users safe as they contended with strong winds and powerful rip currents to ensure as beach goers could enjoy the October surf conditions safely.
Forecasters are now predicting an even bigger swell to hit Europe and the UK on Wednesday and Thursday, with challenging conditions then set to continue for the rest of the week. This swell is predicted to be dangerous in exposed areas of Cornwall and Devon, but the effects will create rough conditions along the south coast of Devon and into Dorset, so those heading to the coast should take extra care.
Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the South West says;
‘Experts have been watching weather systems out in the Atlantic for the last few weeks to calculate the impact on swell conditions hitting Europe and the UK. Forecasts at the moment are predicting a huge swell to arrive on Wednesday and into Thursday combined with strong winds.
‘Sea conditions are set to be extremely dangerous and its likely most beaches will be red flagged with huge waves, strong rip currents and increased tidal surges. If you are tempted to enter the water, please go to one of the 27 lifeguarded beaches and listen to their advice, if there are no flags then there are no lifeguards. Do not enter the water if the red flag is flying, it only takes seconds to get caught out in conditions like these.
If you see anyone in difficulty, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
‘While we expect stormy conditions during the winter, this particular swell is hitting in the middle of half term when the coastal area is busy with visitors to the region and locals off school. We would advise anglers, coastal walkers and anyone hoping to watch the surf to do so at a safe distance from the water.’
Lifeguard patrols start at 10am but are now finishing at 5pm due to the clocks going back and fading light.