Elevated rip current risk this weekend with tropical depression off coast


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — An afternoon filled with sunshine and summer warmth had plenty of people putting toes in the sand at Wrightsville Beach Friday.

“It doesn’t look that dangerous out there. It looks very inviting, but it can be deadly,” Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue captain Jeremy Owens.

- Advertisement -

Despite warnings of rip currents and conditions not as tranquil in the water, at least 30 rip current rescues were conducted by lifeguards.

Jermaine Chester was visiting Wrightsville Beach from Duplin County. He was concerned that there had been that many rescues reported.

“Do we really need to be in the water today? We need to come back another day when it changes or something like that,” Chester said.

Eva Prater and Brandi Garrett were also soaking in the sunshine at the beach Friday. They said the surf was a lot to handle.

“It doesn’t bother me going out there, but it’s very rough. I don’t go out very far,” Prater said.

Garrett said that the lifeguards on duty gave her peace of mind.

“We got rolled a couple times, but we feel comfortable because we know lifeguards are on sand,” Garrett said.

With Tropical Depression Three right off the North Carolina coast, the National Weather Service has forecasted a moderate risk of rip currents at all area beaches Saturday. The risk could remain elevated into next week.

Owens says people should be careful or just avoid the water entirely.

“We do the flag conditions, we’re flying yellow flags today because we have a moderate risk of rip currents,” Owens said. “You guys help us out a lot. When people see that we’re having a moderate or high risk of rip currents, just recognizing that and staying out of the water. Just knowing their limitations and swimming abilities is a big help for us.”

There is also a chance for showers and storms in the forecast Saturday, so it may be best to choose a different way to spend the day than heading out to the beach.

At this time, we’re not anticipating any direct impacts like rain, wind or storm surge from the new tropical depression. However, as it meanders off the coast, we could see some rough surf and a risk for rip currents into next week.