Forecasters, Coast Guard warn of rip currents on Outer Banks

Posted September 5, 2012

— The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service are warning people about the high risk for dangerous rip currents sparked by Tropical Storm Leslie on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The weather service office in Morehead City says rip currents sparked by Leslie are possible Wednesday in Dare, Hyde, Onslow and Carteret counties. Tracking the Tropics Track tropical storms

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore. They occur most often at low spots or breaks in sandbars.

"Oftentimes, the biggest rip current outbreaks occur from swells from a distant storm," said Steven Pfaff of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington. "The swells affect large areas of coastline, putting a higher number of people at risk."

The Coast Guard also is advising boaters and swimmers to use extreme caution at inlets, where dangerous conditions can occur as large waves sweep in. Last month, the Coast Guard rescued four people when their 24-foot power boat capsized in breaking surf at Hatteras Inlet.

"The ocean is unforgiving," said Capt. Anthony Popiel, the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina commander. "It is extremely important for people for people to carefully watch weather conditions and know their capabilities prior to getting under way or going in the water."

According to the guard, 82 people have died in rip currents in the Carolinas since 2000.

Anyone caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore until they are able to escape and swim in to the beach.

The tropical storm itself is heading toward Bermuda.


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  • jblake1932 Sep 5, 2012

    alberteinstien: That has to be the most complete and correct statement of the day. Tootles.

  • AlbertEinstein Sep 5, 2012

    One must contemplate whether the weather provides any instance of stability or indication of other events, such as the Democrat thingy in the State of Mecklenburg County. Such contemplations would provide some interesting evaluation of whether the rip's are on both events... as in rip off.

  • jblake1932 Sep 5, 2012

    Rips currents are ok to swim in if you know what you are doing. They have a predictable pattern that stays the same, but you only have to know how to read them correctly. They never bother me, but I'm a good swimmer.

  • Screw WrAl Sep 5, 2012

    I got a rip current in my shorts!

  • Scubagirl Sep 5, 2012

    "Of course! I have a dive trip scheduled on saturday. I am going to be furious if it gets cancelled again!

    I feel your pain there Wolfpack.....happened to me more times than I can count.

    And my comment from 2:34 makes no sense really without the one the WRAL decided to NOT post....smh

  • Obamacare is back again Sep 5, 2012

    Wolfpack12, you poor baby. How will you ever survive?

  • froggygirl Sep 5, 2012

    -V-A-V-A-V- So true. I guess if someone doesn't want to know about rip currents, hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorms, they can ignore the National Weather Service all they want. Check out a book called Warnings to find out about the lives the NWS saves.

  • Wolfpack12 Sep 5, 2012

    Of course! I have a dive trip scheduled on saturday. I am going to be furious if it gets cancelled again!

  • RichardE Sep 5, 2012

    We don't need no big gov't weather service telling us when we can swim. It's an afront on our freedoms. The Ryan budget does away with the National Weather Service once and for all.

    -That's the funniest thing I've read all week.

  • Scubagirl Sep 5, 2012

    hmmmmmmmmm, maybe I only HEARD 50 when in reality it was said 15....much better. Sometimes it's good to be wrong :)