Hurricane Fiona remains far from Cape Town and the islands, but the extremely powerful storm will cause waves to rise over the next few days.
The National Weather Service warns that the distant storm will trigger heavy swells, rough seas and a risk of high rip currents along Massachusetts beaches. According to the Boston office of the National Weather Service, there could be “potentially deadly rip currents.”
A high surf advisory is in effect for Cape Town, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the South Coast through Friday. Big breaking waves of 5 to 9 feet are expected in the surf area.
“We have higher waves from strong winds from a cold front and swell from Hurricane Fiona,” Kyle Pederson, a meteorologist with the Boston office of the National Weather Service, told the Herald on Wednesday.
“There will be potentially dangerous rip currents,” he added, noting that many beaches stop having lifeguards after Labor Day. “Anyone with beach plans, even if it will be cold, should be careful of the risk of rip currents.”
The high surf advisory reads: “Inexperienced swimmers should stay out of the water due to dangerous surf conditions.”
There is also a small craft advisory in effect, with seas of 7ft possible.
“Strong winds can cause dangerous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility,” the advisory said. “Mariners should consider altering their plans to avoid possible hazardous conditions. Stay in port, seek safe harbor, change course and/or secure the ship in high winds and rough seas.
After Fiona caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico, Wednesday’s storm was heading towards Bermuda – and was expected to approach Atlantic Canada late Friday.
Maximum sustained winds were near 130 mph with stronger gusts. Fiona is a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
In Massachusetts on Thursday, a strong cold front will move through the region bringing heavy thunderstorms into the morning. Storms are expected to move over the waters by mid-afternoon, then cooler in the 60s with gusty winds expected for the remainder of Thursday.
Friday’s first full day of fall is sure to feel like fall as temperatures struggle to climb out of the 50s with cloudy skies and windy conditions throughout the day.
Saturday will be warmer in the 60s with sunny skies, followed by temperatures jumping into the 70s on Sunday. A few showers will be possible from time to time overnight Sunday to Tuesday, but washing off is not expected.