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Alert: High Waves Pose Danger to Beach Goers

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March 19. 2008 — Beach goers should stay out of the water at least through Friday because of unusually high waves breaking at island beaches, a government official warns.
"Behind a cold front which moved across the territory on Tuesday, there are long period swells that began invading the local waters last night," said Stevelyn A. Parris, acting state director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), in a Government House news release. "These waves will continue to increase tonight and Thursday and, as a result, will create extremely hazardous surf conditions, especially along the northern coastlines."
The cold front directly north of the territory makes conditions less than ideal for many beach- or marine-related activities. But warnings about high waves didn't stop surfers and others from testing the waters Wednesday afternoon at Northside beaches. Dozens of young people on wave boards took advantage of the surf at Magens Bay, while more experienced surfers rode the waves father out or at Hull Bay, a favorite Northside surf spot.
A high-surf warning and coastal-flood warning were in effect for St. Thomas and St. John as of Wednesday night.
"We are seeing large breaking waves and dangerous rip currents occurring tonight, and we expect those to continue through Friday," Parris said.
A coastal-flood watch and high-surf advisory is in effect for St. Croix until Friday afternoon.
"Make the safety of yourself and loved ones a top priority," Parris said.
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