WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Ocean rescuers are continuing to monitor dangerous surf conditions across all the area beaches as Hurricane Humberto churns off the coast of the Southeast.
The storm is far enough away from our shore where we won’t see any direct impacts, such as heavy winds and rain. However, strong winds from the systems are pushing larger swells onto our beaches, causing a high rip current risk.
“Some of the more dangerous times is when we do have nice weather at the beach because people infer that since the beach conditions are nice, the surf conditions are nice and we know that’s not the case," said Steve Pfaff, lead warning coordinator with the National Weather Service. "These swells from these distant storms can really cause dangerous surf, large breakers in the surf zone and the presence of strong rip currents is a good bet for the next several days.”
After Labor Day, many area beach ocean rescues reduce their lifeguard staff, but continue to monitor ocean conditions, especially in high risk days such as these.
“We have about 10 lifeguards working on the weekends and 9 on the weekdays,” said Sam Proffitt with Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue. “We’ll continue to monitor how conditions are and if need be we will staff more people."
On Sunday, there were 14 ocean rescues at Wrightsville Beach, and several others at other area beaches.
“We had one rescue yesterday caused by a rip current,” said Chief Alan Griffin with the Carolina Beach Fire Department. “We still have a few stands near the boardwalk. We have a few guards off and on, but mainly on the weekend, right now we are mainly just taking response calls. We’ll usually have about five 4-wheelers patrolling and they will display the flags of the surf conditions.”
Some beaches, such as Oak Island, don’t have lifeguards and rely on water rescue teams which get their information out to their beachgoers through their website and social media pages.
“Our off-season hasn’t started yet, our beach has continued to be crowded since Labor Day,” said Chief Tony Young with Oak Island Water Rescue. “We have a rip current flag posted at the station and we post everyday online. This storm could be tricky since it’s staying offshore so the skies could be clear, but the waters are dangerous.”
Rip currents can be scary however there is help on how to spot a rip current and how to get out of one safely.