Beaches expecting big waves, high tides and rip currents for holiday weekend
ORLANDO, Fla. - It's the unofficial start to summer, and Daytona Beach and other popular spots expect large crowds.
While the skies won't be the biggest concern, the focus will be on the water conditions. Daytona Beach has been seeing seven to nine-foot swells, and it's expected to last into Saturday.
It is also seeing very high tides and there will be rip tides all weekend.
"It’s definitely going to be dangerous for those that aren’t really used to big wave surfing, but some of us are actually quite keen for that," said Stefan Bouwer, who traveled from South Africa.
Some will take advantage of the conditions for surfing and kiteboarding, but there won't be much real estate on the beach for those planning to lounge in the sun.
"They closed the beaches for people to drive on them," Bouwer said. "I saw the water came all the way up. There was basically no beach left."
RELATED: Orlando International Airport parking lots filling up ahead of Memorial Day weekend
"We’re going to have to close the beach driving maybe a few hours before that high tide, so make sure that you pay attention to those tides," said Deputy Chief Tammy Maphurs from Volusia County Beach Safety.
The big waves could lead to stronger riptides the rest of the weekend.
"When those breaking waves, they pound holes in the sandbar which causes the rip current conditions," Maphurs said.
Volusia County Beach Safety says it has rescued more than 160 people from the water in the past week. They'll be flying the red flag all weekend and are staffing up as much as possible.