WILMINGTON — A serious warning for swimmers and surfers at Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender County beaches: the National Weather Service in Wilmington has issued a high rip current risk warning through Tuesday evening for all area beaches as Hurricane Gert passes approximately 250 miles offshore in the Atlantic.
According to the statement, “strong long period swells from Hurricane Gert will produce a high risk of strong rip currents today. Rip currents will be strongest several hours either side of low tide.”
Although low tide was at approximately 8 a.m. this morning, the NWS cautions that these rip currents could occur at any time throughout the day.
These rip currents have the potential to be life threatening, according to the NWS.
In addition to the rip current risk, the forecast is also calling for a high surf advisory, with wave height approaching four feet at Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender County beaches.
According to the National Weather Service, “rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties and piers.”
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If you find yourself caught in a rip current, the NWS recommends that you remain calm, and yell for help. Do not exhaust yourself and stay afloat while waiting. If you have to swim out of a rip current, swim parallel to shore and back toward the beach when possible. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current, the NWS warns, as the the current will likely exhaust most swimmers.
To view the full forecast, visit weather.gov.