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Rip currents, storms pose threats for Memorial Day vacationers

Posted May 30

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— Vacationers who enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend at one of North Carolina's crowded beaches had to deal Monday with iffy weather and rough waters contributed by Tropical Storm Bonnie.

The sun was out, and Wrightsville Beach was packed Monday morning with people enjoying an extra day off of work. Since a rainy forecast was predicted for later in the day, beach-goers made sure to take advantage of the sunshine early in the morning.

Despite Bonnie's threats to ruin the weather over the holiday weekend, kids were building sand castles, sunbathers were basking and boaters were enjoying the waves.

According to the lead lifeguard at Wrightsville Beach, only a few rescues had to be made over the holiday weekend. "The main concern was rip currents," he said. On Saturday, lifeguards performed 10 water rescues to remove swimmers from rip currents. On Sunday, 12 more were rescued.

Twenty-two rescues in one weekend might sound like a big number, but, according to lifeguards, that's not anything out of the ordinary for a busy holiday weekend like Memorial Day. "All in all, people were listening to the warnings," lifeguards said. "People are being cautious."

Only a few emergency calls were made from the beach over the weekend, but most were not related to dangerous beach conditions. One person had an allergic reaction to a bite from a sea creature, one suffered an asthma attack and one passed out, likely from dehydration.

Despite the lack of serious accidents at Wrightsville Beach over the weekend, rip currents and storms should not be taken lightly. Officials with the Carolina Beach Police Department are still searching for a man who went missing over the weekend while swimming in rough waters there, just miles from Wrightsville.

The search for 21-year-old James Cameron from Graham, N.C. started Saturday when crews responded to a call of a swimmer in distress around 7:50 p.m. on the beach strand at Harper Avenue. The search is still ongoing, and anyone who has information about the missing swimmer is asked to contact the Carolina Beach Police Department or call 911.

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  • Norman Lewis May 30, 2016
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    Going in the water with a Tropical Storm off the coast? Here's your sign!