RIEMA, Coast Guard prepared for Jose, Maria

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – One of the main concerns the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is people getting too close to the water as the waves crash against the rocks.

“It shows you that the ocean is really dangerous,” Pat Bouiette of Cumberland said. “You wouldn’t want to be out there!”

In Newport, a busload of people stopped to snap photos of the wild waves created by Hurricane Jose.

“It’s so beautiful and so powerful,” Simona Mkrtschian of Cleavland, Ohio said. “It’s really a sight to behold.”

Bill Harris of West Greenwich visited Beavertail State Park to witness the powerful waves.

“I hope they get bigger!” he said.

But Harris is careful to watch from a safe distance, something emergency officials are stressing due to the dangerous waves and rip currents.

“We ask people to stay away from the shoreline and rocks. Don’t put yourself at risk. Don’t put first responders at risk,” Peter Gaynor, Director of RIEMA, said. “It’s just rough water out there. It can be deceiving. You get too close, you could get surprised and we don’t want you to get in trouble so please use your common sense.”

Gaynor says RIEMA is closely monitoring Jose, but they will not activate its emergency operations center.

“We’ll watch it until we think there’s no more hazard or risk to Rhode Island,” he said.

The EMA is also keeping an eye on Hurricane Maria, the Category 5 hurricane that’s pummeling parts of the Caribbean.

“We watch them all. Now we’ll turn our attention more to Maria once Jose gets by us,” he said. “This is hurricane season, we’re in the height of hurricane season for New England so take time to prepare yourself and your family.”

Meanwhile, first responders are geared up to help people on land, as well as on water, as Hurricane Jose continues moving north.

The U.S. Coast Guard says rough surf, along with the wind and rain from Jose, make a treacherous combination.

Guardsman Jarrod Halub says to use common sense and don’t take chances. He also said to stay out of the water and secure or even remove paddle crafts, because if they’re taken by the tide, the Coast Guard won’t know whether someone needs to be rescued or not.

“We just want to get out that people should put their paddle craft, their paddle boards, up high on the banks,” he said. “Tie them off maybe so we can prevent the storm surge from taking them out into the water because that causes us to launch for unnecessary cases.”

The Coast Guard, just like RIEMA, is urging people to steer clear of the shoreline during the storm. But even so, if the Coast Guard is needed, they say they’re ready.

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