Cat. 3 Hurricane Larry brings increasing rip current risk to North Carolina coast starting Labor Day

Hurricane Larry, currently way off in the Atlantic, is expected to become a major hurricane this weekend.

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WRAL Severe Weather Center

Dangerous swim conditions will persist for several more days at North Carolina beaches.

On Tuesday there was a high rip current risk along most of the North Carolina coast. The National Weather Service reported 16 rip current rescues at New Hanover beaches on Sunday during a moderate rip current risk.
Hurricane Larry latest forecast track

Steering currents will help keep Larry away from the U.S., but North Carolina's coast experienced some rip currents or large ocean swells over Labor Day weekend, and several more days of dangerous conditions are expected.

On Tuesday morning, Larry was still a major Cat. 3 hurricane.

"The rip current risk now up to the high category across some of our beaches," WRAL meteorologist Peta Sheerwood said. "The rip current risk is expected to increase today and tomorrow."

According to Sheerwood, drier air will prevent Larry from developing further. Instead, the storm is likely to weaken as it moves northward this week.

Rip current risk along NC coast

Although only one moderate rip current was measured on Monday, Sam Proffitt, of Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue, said conditions will worsen as the system gets closer to the U.S.

Steering currents will help keep Larry off the United States coast, but North Carolina's coast could experience some rip currents or large ocean swells.

Hurricane Larry coastal impacts

The closet that Larry will get to the North Carolina coast is 846.1 miles on Thursday afternoon, according to WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth.

Despite being almost 1,000 miles away, the system will come close enough to the coast that it will cause dangerous rip currents and rough surf.

By Thursday morning, the North Carolina coast will start to see the potential for some red flags, meaning there is a high rip current risk. The potential will then increase heading into Friday, according to Wilmoth.

Rip current risk along NC coast

"If you're planning a beach trip for the end of the week, be very careful. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a high rip current risk as Larry gets close. It doesn't hit us but it gets close enough to have a little bit of impact," said Wilmoth.

Hurricane Larry is the fifth hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

One more system to watch

A system of showers and thunderstorms over the Yucatan Peninsula has a 30% chance of development on Tuesday.

This system is expected to move slowly northeastward over the central and northeastern Gulf of Mexico during the next couple of days," Sheerwood said. "Upper-level winds could inhibit development. Regardless, this is going to send rain into north Florida by the end of the week."

Hurricane Larry latest forecast track


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