The U.S. Coast Guard issued a press release Saturday urging people to use extreme caution if they venture off the NC coast this weekend due to the weather expected from Hurricane Irma. (Source: NOAA/Twitter)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
The U.S. Coast Guard reiterated warnings Sunday morning to beachgoers and mariners on the North Carolina coast, urging the use of extreme caution due to the weather expected from Hurricane Irma.
"We've been recommending everybody stay out of the water," said John Scull, Lieutenant with the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue. "We've got dangerous rip currents, dangerous longshore currents, and heavy surf."
Hurricane Irma's biggest impact is in Florida, where the storm made direct impact Sunday morning. Dee Colacicco, from Cape Coral, FL, was walking on Wrightsville Beach today with family and friends.
"We've had a very unnerving week," said Colacicco, who evacuated Friday with five friends and family members. "We packed up our important paperwork and medications, and our jewelry, and whatever we needed to take with us."
Her group of evacuees are staying in a hotel in Wilmington until it's safe to return home.
Colacicco estimates that approximately 95 percent of her hometown has evacuated due to Hurricane Irma.
"There's nothing we can do about it. We can just hope and pray and we'll just get back there and pick up the pieces and move on to the next storm," she said.
Even though Irma forecasts have been favorable for the state of North Carolina, the Coast Guard wants to remind people that the current projection of Irma does not mean all threats to the coastal regions have been eliminated.
The impacts on Southeastern North Carolina could include large surf, potential coastal flooding and tropical storm level winds later Sunday, early Monday and potentially into Tuesday.
Although Wrightsville Beach appeared less crowded than usual Sunday, there were a handful of people who chose to swim despite the warnings.
Trey Taylor Came to Wrightsville beach for a family’s birthday party and was boogie boarding in the ocean.
“We’re out here surfing today because the waves look pretty powerful," said Taylor.
"Mariners should submit a voyage plan with family and/or friends, ensure they have the proper safety equipment, with PFDs for everyone aboard and flares," said Cmdr. Quincy L. Davis, deputy sector commander for Sector North Carolina. "We also urge mariners to have proper communication equipment, preferably a radio appropriate for the marine environment."