As TS Chris swirls in the Atlantic, rip currents, high surf reported along NC coast

Posted July 9, 2018 12:21 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:19 a.m. EDT

— Dare County has set up a text message system in order to communicate timely information about current ocean conditions for those planning trips to the beach as Tropical Storm Chris swirls in the Atlantic.

Those who want to sign up for the mobile text alerts can text OBXBeachConditions to 30890.

As of Sunday night, Chris was about 160 miles off the coast of North Carolina, but the storm's calling card was a raging surf and gusty winds.Vacationers were being told to stay out of the rough waters until further notice.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said Chris is likely to be upgraded to a hurricane sometime Monday or Tuesday.

The high surf and riptides meant the Nags Head Ocean Rescue teams went on alert, erecting flags that warn of danger for those thinking about swimming.

"We started to have northeast winds pick up yesterday," said Chad Motz, who works with the rescue team. "Red Flag means no swimming, which means no entry into the Atlantic ocean."

In Kill Devil Hills, a 62-year-old man died after he went into the water despite officials' decision to raise red flags, which means no swimming. In Nags Head, lifeguards are tasked with making sure new vacationers know the rules.

"You know it's rough days for them (because) they're sitting here in the wind in the high surf getting sea spray on them all day for about eight hours and it's not much fun for them (when we're) asking everyone to stay out of the water," Motz said.

On Sunday, beach visitors stayed largely in the sand, and there were no sightings of people in the water except for a highly skilled surfer.

"Well there's not much you can do about it," said Edwin Gruve, who traveled from Florida to the North Carolina beach. "We got in yesterday. All you can do is party and eat and be happy.The kids are loving it because the pool and the hot tub."

Vacationers told WRAL News they are taking Tropical Storm Chris in stride:

Said Gruve: "We had it rented for a week. We come, we make the best of it. What are you going to do?"