Metro

Moderate risks for rip currents off Mass. coast as Hurricane Chris travels northeast

Horseneck Beach Reservation.
John Tlumacki/Globe staff
Horseneck Beach Reservation.

With Hurricane Chris lingering out at sea on Wednesday, beaches in southeastern Massachusetts were already seeing rip currents, a meteorologist said Wednesday.

The Category Two hurricane, which was a tropical storm off the coast of North Carolina for days, was 440 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., moving northeast toward the New England area at 22 miles per hour as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, meteorologist Alan Dunham of the National Weather Service said.

Dunham said several beaches, including Horseneck Beach in Westport and others on Cape Cod, had moderate rip currents in the morning.

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Nantucket beaches are predicted to have 4-to-6-foot waves, Dunham said, and other areas including Martha’s Vineyard, the coast of Bristol County, and Block Island, R.I. have moderate risks for rip currents.

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Dunham said people can still go to the beach, but they have to be careful going into the water. He advised the public to go to lifeguard-protected beaches, swim with a friend, and be wary of risks.

“If you get caught in a rip current, the best thing to do is remain calm to conserve your energy,” Dunham said. “You don’t want to fight against the current. Let it take you out, then swim parallel to the coast where the current is not there so you can swim in.”

Separately Wednesday, state officials warned visitors to Horseneck to use caution, in light of the rip currents.

“The storm is likely to generate high surf and dangerous rip current conditions today and tomorrow along ocean beaches, particularly those located along Southern Massachusetts,” the Department of Conservation and Recreation said in a statement. “If conditions were to warrant it, the DCR could close the beach and park area out of concern for the public’s safety.”

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The DCR’s commissioner, Leo Roy, reiterated the warnings.

“With the potential of dangerous rip currents likely to occur at Horseneck Beach State Reservation, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is strongly encouraging all visitors to take extreme caution while visiting the beach area,” Roy said in the statement. “Additionally, the agency is closely monitoring all Department managed beaches along the coastline, and lifeguards and staff will alert visitors should conditions become dangerous.”

The rip currents eventually forced the closure of Horseneck Beach at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the DCR wrote in a tweet. The conditions will be re-evaluated Thursday to determine if the beach will reopen.

Officials said additional DCR-managed beaches that could be affected include “Demarest Lloyd State Park, Fort Phoenix State Reservation, and South Cape Beach State Park. Furthermore, all other agency managed ocean beaches are currently being monitoring, as well.”

During an afternoon advisory Wednesday, the Weather Service said Chris will “pass well southeast of Nantucket.”

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The advisory said high pressure “will build over the region Thursday and Friday, resulting in mainly dry weather along with seasonable temperatures and comfortable humidity. A return to hot weather is expected later this weekend into early next week. While a few thunderstorms cannot be ruled out this weekend into early next week, dry weather looks to dominate the majority of the time.”

But look for rain in some areas of eastern Massachusetts until about 6 p.m. Wednesday, the advisory said.

“A couple of showers/tstms forming over Plymouth County and moving offshore north of Provincetown/Race Point,” the posting said. “Expect these to affect parts of the Cape and South Shore waters through midday.”

But there should be clear skies and cool temps overnight through 6 p.m. Thursday, according to the advisory.

“Quiet night tonight with clearing skies and diminishing wind,” the posting said. “Decent radiational cooling will result in low temps dropping into the 50s region wide, except lower 60s for Boston.”

Katie Camero can be reached at katie.camero@globe.com. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.