Over 2 dozen rip current rescues at Wrightsville Beach this weekend as Hurricane Florence approaches
WILMINGTON, NC (WNCN) - All eyes at the North Carolina coast are on the tropics as Florence makes its way through the Atlantic.
While people living along the coast said they're concerned about the uncertainty of the storm's path, meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Wilmington said now is not a time to panic, but to prepare.
Beverly Fullam said she's been paying attention to Florence, staying prepared with two condos along the Carolina coast in Wrightsville Beach and Myrtle Beach.
"We could get hit twice, I don't know," Fullam said. "We've got insurance on everything, so hopefully we won't have to use it."
"There could be significant storm surge [and] there could be significant wind impacts," NWS Wilmington Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Pfaff said on Saturday.
Pfaff said he and others have ramped up operations this weekend to track the storm's movements while keeping officials in the loop.
"We've been in coordination with the United States Coast Guard, North Carolina Emergency Management, South Carolina Emergency Management, the [South Carolina] Governor's Office," Pfaff said. "We can't have confusion in the public, which is why it's just so important that we hold briefings [and] we hold conference calls."
He said Florence is already making an impact with rip current rescues along the coast Saturday.
"We're having these swells start to come in to our shoreline," he said. "Those swells, as they increase, the potential for rip currents is just going to increase dramatically over the next few days."
He said while it's unclear if the storm will hit the Carolinas, it's good to stay informed and to plan accordingly.
"We want to prepare effectively," Pfaff said. "We have time before this storm gets into the picture. We need to use that time wisely."
Those like Fullam are hoping for the best.
"I hope it just turns and goes out into the Atlantic," she said. "I hope nobody gets it, really and truly."
As of 5 p.m. Saturday, NWS Wilmington officials more than a dozen rip current rescues in Wrightsville Beach for the day, which they said is more than average for that same timeframe.
And on Sunday at 2:45 p.m., NWS Wilmington officials reported 15 rip current related rescues at Wrightsville Beach.