Dangerous swimming conditions but minor erosion at beaches

Workers tend to Rehoboth Beach erosion issues (Special to the Delaware State News/Chuck Snyder)

REHOBOTH BEACH — High wind speeds Tuesday morning and early afternoon from Tropical Storm Isaias lead to dangerous swimming conditions and numerous beach closures across the state.

The Delaware Environmental Observing System for Rehoboth Beach and Indian River Inlet measured up to 40 mph winds before 9 a.m. High winds resulted in a strong rip current that required Rehoboth Beach to close their beaches until conditions improved, according to city Communications Director Krys Johnson.

Dewey Beach also closed their beaches for the day due to unsafe swimming conditions, said Assistant Town Manager Jim Dedes.

While the storm created unsafe swimming conditions, Michael Powell, shoreline and waterway section administrator with the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said he saw only minor beach erosion after checking the situation across the state Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve been to virtually all of the beaches in Kent and Sussex county along the bay and ocean, starting late morning and wrapping up as the storm wrapped up [around mid-afternoon] and the beach erosion is very minor everywhere,” Mr. Powell said.

Kent County beaches experienced some minor erosion, he said, while Sussex beaches such as Rehoboth and Bethany Beach saw almost no erosion at all. He attributed the lack of erosion due to the storm moving very quickly through the area, lasting only from early morning to mid-afternoon.

“I think that if someone were to drive up to Bethany Beach or Rehoboth Beach the day after tomorrow, they would not have any reason to think a storm had happened,” Mr. Powell said.

But Mr. Powell noted that this is only the beginning of hurricane season, so residents should prepare for more storms to come through the next two months.

“We survived the tropical storm with very minor impacts to the beaches. We are at the beginning of the tropical storm and hurricane season, so we have at least two more months of season to get through,” he said. “This season seems to be an active one, so we are certainly keeping our eye out for additional storms, but this one was minor as far as the beaches go.”