Strong winds and heavy surf batter Baldwin County beaches for start of spring break

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 8:28 PM CST
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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - The first weekend in March marked the start spring break 2023 along the gulf coast. Strong southwest winds and heavy surf pounded the beaches Friday, March 3, 2023 in Baldwin County. Double red flags were posted, making it illegal to enter the water because of deadly rip currents.

The few visitors to the beach Friday did the only thing they could do and admire the power of Mother Nature from afar, Snapchatting and Facebooking images of the waves crashing ashore. The double red flags warned of rip currents and other dangerous conditions.

Double red flags over Gulf Shores public beaches warn of deadly rip currents and surf, making...
Double red flags over Gulf Shores public beaches warn of deadly rip currents and surf, making it illegal to enter the water(Hal Scheurich)

“Also, that strong current’s going to push you down, so if you did get pushed down, you’d be moving very fast to the east and also, the dangerous surf,” Gulf Shores Beach Safety Chief, Joethan Phillips said. “Just the heavy shore break and pounding waves.”

The crashing surf churned the shoreline into a foamy mat in places. Folks walking the beach couldn’t help but be intrigued.

“It’s just tricky about the foam because water is not foam, so waves causing the water to foam. I have questions,” said an observant Amika Carter from South Carolina.

“It’s a different experience and it’s uh, you know I’ve never seen…I’ve never seen surf like this in person, so when we get waves like this in Texas, it’s because of a hurricane,” added Ashley Evans.

The weather didn’t just put a damper on those hoping for a dip I the gulf. Spring Hill College was hosting its annual Badger Classic beach volleyball tournament and the gusty winds were creating difficulties.

“It’s a little bit challenging, definitely I would say, in terms of serving into the wind and passing balls,” said Hendrix College player, Hayden Garris. “It’s a challenge, just all day. Every day.”

“We like to call it…it’s just a serving game at this point. If you have to put it over on one touch or two touches, that’s what you’ve got to do to win,” said teammate, Lauren Rothe.

Winning in the strong wind was no easy task but the ladies had a blast, regardless.

Looking forward, beach safety officials said double reds will be flying to start the day Saturday and conditions will be monitored throughout the day. The strong onshore winds are expected to turn offshore sometime Friday night or Saturday, which should knock down the surf a bit and clean it up.