Strong wind, rough surf at Oceanfront as Maria gets closer

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Lifeguards rescued 30 people from the resort beach over weekend, even with red flags warning people of the rough surf and increased risk for rip currents.

The red flags are still flying – and will likely continue flying for much of the week. Tom Gill, with the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, says he wants people to stay out of the water due to continued dangerous conditions.

The city of Virginia Beach says they are prepared just in case the storm moves closer to home. Crews moved all trashcans off the beaches and have cleared out storm drains to make way for whatever Maria brings.

Surfers at the Oceanfront say the recent storms have brought some of the best waves in a decade, but that also means the water has become fierce for swimmers not able to handle the strong current.

“I’ve actually helped a couple people who have gotten in trouble,” said Shane Paffrath, from Virginia Beach. “It’ll pull you out in no time and then you can’t get back in. You just got to play it safe. The ocean is nothing to play with.”

On the boardwalk Monday, crews set up tents for the Neptune Festival in high winds, which are expected to pick up Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gail Donigian says she’s lived through several storms on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has advice ahead of Hurricane Maria impacting Virginia Beach.

“I would watch the intensity and the expectations of maybe electricity being out,” says Donigian.

Vacationers tell 10 On Your Side they plan to ride out the storm in their hotels, even if that means appreciating the water from a distance and not getting wet.