Galveston Island spring break begins
Updated On: Mar 08 2014 11:15:27 PM CST
Right off the heels of Mardi Gras, the Island of Galveston is getting ready for even more mayhem.
Spring break officially started on Saturday and the weather wasn't cooperating. Wind kept the waves crashing and island visitors bundling up.
"It's freezing!" said Eleanor Vear, a high school senior.
Despite the weather, between 250,000 and 500,000 visitors are expected on the island over the next three weeks.
"It's really just the start of the summer," said bartender Traci Holman. "After spring break you have a week of just calm and then you have a cascade of about four or five months of ceaseless tourists."
Holman said the crowds can be difficult to handle, but she welcomes their business after a slow winter.
Galveston Island Beach Patrol caters to the crowds by increasing staff members.
"We have full staff as if it was a day in the summer," said Chief Peter Davis.
The beach patrol guards about 9 miles of beachfront. Each day they fly a flag indicating the water's condition.
On Saturday, the flag color was yellow, which means the waves are moderate.
"If you see a red flag that means if you're a good swimmer, don't go above your waist," Davis said. "If you're not a swimmer, or a child, stay completely out of the water."
Alcohol is allowed on several beaches, but law enforcement advises if you're getting behind the wheel, be careful. The Galveston Police Department will be out in full force, operating on a no-refusal basis.