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Dangerous Surf to Be Leslie's U.S. Impact This Weekend

UPDATED 1 PM EDT, September 7, 2012

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal

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Even though the storm remains several hundred miles offshore, Tropical Storm Leslie is poised to create a bumpy weekend for the East Coast beaches. One to two story high waves may make swimming dangerous this weekend from Maine to Florida.

The cause of the high surf is that pesky tropical storm, Leslie, which has been spinning south of Bermuda for the past few days. With winds of 70-75 mph and tropical storm force winds that extend as much as 185 miles from its center, Leslie is able to push around a lot of Atlantic Ocean water. As the water moves away from the center, it builds into large waves that will buffet anything in its path -- boats, shorelines, and swimmers.

East Coast beach-goers will see an increase in waves as the storm slides northward this weekend. The highest waves of 8 to 10 feet will be found along the North Carolina Outer Banks, and along the eastern shoreline of the Delmarva Peninsula. Much of the rest of the coast will experience 6 to 8 foot waves.

For those planning a weekend cruise or a getaway to Bermuda, the waves will be even higher. The ocean could reach as high as 15 to 20 feet by Sunday across Bermuda, causing significant beach erosion. East of the island, the waves will be even higher, with the potential for seas as high as 40 to 50 feet near Leslie`s center.

For those heading to the beaches this weekend, use extreme caution if you plan to swim. While these high waves may look inviting, they are also very dangerous. Powerful surf can cause extremely fast riptides, capable of rapidly pulling a person away from the shoreline. What can you do if caught in a rip current? Follow these directions.

With these concerns in mind, the National Weather Service has issued Rip Current Statements for the North Carolina Outer Banks, southern Virginia, the southern half of the Delmarva Peninsula, and the south-facing beaches of Long Island.

The threat of high surf will remain through the weekend, and into early next week. As long as Tropical Storm Leslie remains along the East Coast, it will continue to send strong waves toward the coastline.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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Story Image: Waves from Hurricane Irene crash on the Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk, Va., in August 2011. (Preston Gannaway, AP)

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