Increased rip current risks at local beaches lessen as Tropical Storm Henri continues to move

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As rip currents risks associated with Tropical Storm Henri lessen as the storm continues to move further from the Cape Fear, ocean rescue crews continue to warn beachgoers to proceed with caution.

On Sunday, yellow flags flew on Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, after seeing high rip current risks coming from a large swell brought by Tropical Storm Henri.

The flags signifying moderate swimming conditions were a welcome change from the red flags that flew on Friday warning swimmers of strong surf and rip currents.

Over the weekend, Kure Beach Ocean Rescue crew conducted at least twenty-five rip current rescues, and Carolina Beach conducted fifteen.

“Anywhere any flash rips occurred, we would go out, we’d mark it and whistle people out of them and you know, kind of keep people in those conditions, at least waist deep or shallower. So it was a constant struggle.” said Tony Wallace, Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue Captain.

“With the swell being the way that it was, we were kind of anticipating it to be that way. Yesterday, we were expecting to be a little more busy than we actually were. We were definitely anticipating the swell being a factor in the rips that we had this past weekend,” said JD Lanier, Kure Beach Ocean Rescue Director.

Water conditions are expected to continue to improve as Tropical Storm Henri moves further from the cape fear area, and Kure Beach Ocean Rescue says they will continue to inform beachgoers of possible water risks, before they enter the water.

“People don’t really anticipate waves being as strong as they normally are. So really we just try to do as much as much preventative as we can with it being such a short staff, seeing that everybody has already gone back to school and stuff like that. So really just trying to inform the public,” said Lanier.

Ocean rescue crews advise beachgoers to check flags located on lifeguard stand on beaches for water conditions, and to swim near lifeguard stands if they have concerns.

One Brunswick County Beach, Oak Island, reported having zero ocean rescues this weekend.

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