Last evening my son and I went for a run on the boardwalk around 7 p.m. Aside from the high winds, massive waves, churning ocean, and flooding that came right up to the boardwalk, we saw three girls do something really stupid.

As a mom of two teenagers, and as a person in the media who hears and announces every horrific drowning due to rip currents, I was horrified when three girls decided to don bathing suits and risk their lives (plus the lives of those who would have had to rescue them) to jump into the midst of a dangerous ocean storm.

Many locals were out on the boardwalk taking photos of the tremendous waves and the havoc the surf was causing as the tide pounded the beach and the flooding came precariously close to coming right onto Ocean Ave.

But what bothers me most of all is that the parents and families of these girls would have been heartbroken and devastated if their girls -- God forbid-- had gotten swept out to sea in a rip current. It's hard to do justice in photos to capture the severity of the danger last night in the ocean, but trust me, it was bad.

The lifeguards are gone. Heck, there weren't even any surfers in the water. This ocean was angry and nasty and could easily have sucked any or all of those girls right out to sea. This not only would have been a tragedy to their families but would have then risked the lives of the first responders who would have had to try and save them...or search for their bodies.

Our show often features experts who warn us over and over again never to swim without lifeguards because you simply don't know, even in knee-deep water, whether or not a rip will form and sweep you out to sea.

We just had a horrific death of a teen boy in Spring Lake this past month, just days before he was to start high school. And many of us remember all too clearly the poor girls from Belmar Elementary School who swam without lifeguards just a few years back and lost their lives.

Stop playing with fire, girls. To hear you laughing wildly each time you plunged yourself into those waves made me sick to my stomach as I helplessly looked on and simultaneously tried to call for help. Please don't be that stupid again. It is downright disrespectful to your family and to our community.

And to the two other onlookers who were with you.....maybe you could have said something to stop them.

Here are some photos of the flooding and how close it came to the boardwalk:

(Water right up to the boardwalk bench, photo by Liz Jeressi)
The water started climbing up the ramp, photo by Liz Jeressi