Long Branch extends lifeguard season

Although Hermine has turned away from the area, the storm's lingering effects still pose the risks of severe beach erosion and minor flooding.

At Pier Village in Long Branch, the weather was gorgeous for much of Labor Day. But like many beaches in New Jersey, red flags in the sand signified that no swimming was allowed. Dangerous rip currents remain a concern as Hermine lingers out in the ocean.

Typically, Labor Day marks the last day of staffed lifeguards at the beach, but officials say Long Branch will continue to keep them on-duty until Sept. 18 to make up for time lost to the storm.

"The sun's out, everyone wants to get out of their house to the beachfront, so we want people to come down have fun," says Kris Kiper, of Long Branch Ocean Rescue. "But we're going to try to keep people out of the water until the surf permits them to go in."

Kiper says the beach had a record year followed by what would have been a weak finish due to the lingering storm.

Beach erosion is also a concern. Some jetties that are usually out of view were in plain sight, and the beach appeared to have lost some sand.

The state DEP says it is doing preliminary assessments.

Aside from the environmental effects, some businesses also took a hit.

"Everybody was scared of the storm, and just half of the people came out that we were at least expecting," says Zulsi Huyke, manager at Sirena Bar and Restaurant. "And it turned out to be a gorgeous weekend."

Some residents say it's better to be safe than sorry.

"Mother Nature didn't get us this time," says Joe Huff, who considers being able to walk on the boardwalk for Labor Day a victory.

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