Rip Currents Continue to Worsen Along US East Coast
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer.
Hurricane Danielle brings dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast
Although Hurricane Earl is nowhere near Southeastern North Carolina right now, Hurricane Danielle is making herself felt in the coastal waters, bringing dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast.
Lifeguards say some of our beaches are experiencing some of the roughest rip currents they have seen in a long time.
There were several swimmers who had to be rescued by lifeguards after they nearly drowned in the rough water conditions.
Dewayne Jesup was out in the water for just a few minutes but had to swim back in after losing control.
“It’s really terrible, knocking you upside the head,” said Jesup. “It’s worse than being in a fight. It’s like being in a boxing ring. It’s terrible.”
Lifeguards rescued 50 swimmers on Saturday, and by early Sunday, already handled a major rescue.
Now they say, their best defense is to keep people out of the water.
Zachary Hodge with the Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue was on duty today. He warns beach goers to be extra careful this weekend.
“Even if you’re in the water just up to your knees, if a swimmer loses their footing they can get into places they don’t necessarily want to be,” said Hodge.
Even surfers, who are some of the most experienced swimmers, are entering the water with caution.
Matthew Hernandez is one of them. “It can knock the wind out of you and you can get a mouth full of water,” said Hernandez.
Lifeguards are still not sure when the conditions will improve. Until then, its advised to just stay out of the water.
Rip currents are the greatest hazards on most beaches
This national award-winning video shows what they are, how to spot them, what to do if you get stuck in one, and the different types of rips.
San Diego Surfing Academy, CA
Learn techniques on how to swim safely in rip tides or currents.
San Diego Surfing Academy: You tube Video, in Coastal Care
How Rip Currents Work
By Tom Harris.
Rip currents are responsible for about 150 deaths every year in the United States. In Florida, they kill more people annually than thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes combined. They are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents.
Despite these startling statistics, many swimmers don’t know anything about rip currents, and they have no idea how to survive when caught in one. In this article, we’ll find out what causes rip currents, how you can recognize them and what you should do if one takes you out to sea.
A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 m) lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet (9 m) wide. Rip currents can move at a pretty good speed, often 5 miles per hour (8 kph) or faster.
These currents are often called “riptides,” but this is a misnomer. Tides are the rising and falling of water levels in the ocean. They are primarily caused by the moon’s gravitational pull, and they change gradually and predictably every day. Rip currents are caused by the shape of the shoreline itself, and they may be sudden and unexpected.
Rip currents may also be referred to as “undertow,” which is just as inaccurate. Undertow describes a current of water that pulls you down to the ocean bottom. Rip currents move along the surface of the water, pulling you straight out into the ocean, but not underneath the water’s surface. A rip current may knock you off your feet in shallow water, however, and if you thrash around and get disoriented, you may end up being pulled along the ocean bottom. But if you relax your body, the current should keep you near the surface.
Rip currents are terrifying because they catch you off guard: One minute you’re bobbing along peacefully in the surf, the next you’re being dragged out to sea at top speed. They occur in all sorts of weather and on a wide range of beaches. Unlike violent, crashing waves, you probably won’t notice a rip current until you’re right in the middle of it.