Storm causes most dangerous beach conditions of the summer
OLD ORCHARD BEACH (WGME) -- The sunshine was deceiving in Old Orchard Beach just hours after Mother Nature dumped a half a foot of rain in the vacation town.
Wednesdays storm churned up the beach and now visitors and lifeguards are battling the most dangerous conditions of the summer.
The rain shut down parts of West Grand Avenue through Thursday morning.
Like many residents, Donato Iannucci's car was flooded.
The water was up to the license plate, he said.
The rain also made an island out of his Ocean Park home.
It just filled right up and covered completely this whole backyard, Iannucci said.
The neighborhood is in a flood zone, so Iannucci says most homes were built without a basement, and its proven to help.
We had no damage, no damage at all, Iannucci said.
So the trouble now in Old Orchard Beach is not the rainwater leftover in the streets, its the beach.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, lifeguards had rescued four people from the rip tide.
We pulled two victims out toward the Scarborough line, said head lifeguard Keith Willett.
And visitors can feel the danger in the water.
It's crazy you can barely standup, said Danielle Guertin.
It feels like you could die, said Guertins friend, Melanie Cloutier.
Even lifeguards are struggling with the post-storm conditions.
Willett says two of them were sent to the hospital.
They took in a lot of water during a rescue down in Ocean Park, he explained.
Everyone is okay, at least for now.
As soon as the tide changes and starts going out, we are going to have more and more problems, Willett said.
Despite that warning, visitors aren't afraid.
Dozens of people were in the water, taking advantage of the waves the wild weather left behind.
It pulls you in, it pulls you out, but its worth it, Cloutier said.
Lifeguards expect the surf to calm down by Friday morning, but say that strong rip tide could last through the weekend.