Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Newport/Morehead, NC

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NOUS42 KMHX 091707

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City NC
107 PM EDT Fri Jun 9 2017


The week of June 4th through June 10th has been declared rip current
preparedness week by the governor of North Carolina. This is the fifth
of five information messages informing you of the hazards in the surf
zone. Today we will discuss the dangers of strong longshore currents and
strong offshore winds.

A longshore current is an ocean current that moves parallel to
shore. It is caused by swells sweeping into the shoreline at an
angle and pushing water down the length of the beach in one
direction. They vary depending on the size, strength, and
direction of the approaching swell, and length of the beach.

Longshore currents are responsible for many rescues along the coast
because they sweep swimmers and surfers down the beach into a
variety of hazards. They are dangerous because they sweep swimmers
into rip currents, piers and jetties, amongst other hazardous areas.
In many cases, the longshore current is strong enough to prevent
swimmers from being able to keep their feet on the bottom, making it
difficult to return to shore. Always check with a lifeguard on duty
before you enter the ocean to consider the strength of currents and
the possible hazards you may be swept into.

Another hazard that many do not realize is dangerous, though has
gained attention, is strong offshore blowing winds. These strong
winds have been known to push people and objects out into the open
ocean. They are especially a danger to people on floating objects
such as inner tubes and inflatable kayaks. You should exercise
caution and keep floats close to shore at all times when strong
offshore winds are occuring. If a float gets blown away from shore,
do not try and retrieve it.

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