TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — Tropical Storm Ophelia is over 300 miles away from the coast of Tybee, but we are still seeing the effects of it with mild erosion.

Red flags were out on Tybee Island Friday because of the strong wind and surf. Swells of waves move towards the shore and cause beach erosion.

“As those powerful waves break onto the sandbars and wash up onto the beaches, it starts to break away at the beach. It starts to take some of that sand that’s on the beach, and it gets moved off the beach into the ocean,” Storm Team 3 Meteorologist Brian Michigan says.

The beach appears shorter after wave action like this – leaving it more vulnerable to future storms.

“The next storm that impacts us… our beaches could be less resilient, or it might not be able to hold the swell as much when it comes to storm surge and stuff like that,” Michigan says.

While dredging and beach renourishment can help with preventing erosion, Michigan calls it, “a constant fight with Mother Nature.” 

“It’s important to keep the beach as natural as you can really make it,” Michigan says. “Dredging and putting sand back on the beach works for a little while. But naturally, the beaches are just going to break down.”

And while the beach may look inviting, he recommends avoiding swimming in powerful waves and rip currents.

“It makes swimming very dangerous. With the rip currents, essentially what happens is waves that break on sandbars, that water rushes in over the sandbar. It has to make its way back out into the ocean somehow, and it does that using its deepest channels.”