Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Newport/Morehead, NC

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NOUS42 KMHX 061200

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City NC
800 AM EDT Tue Jun 6 2017


The week of June 4th through June 10th has been declared rip current
preparedness week by the governor of North Carolina. Today we will
discuss how and where rip currents typically form and how to
identify them from shore.

Rip currents can be found on most surf beaches every day. They are
formed when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water between
the breaking waves at the beach. One of the ways this water returns
to sea is to form a rip current, a narrow jet of water that moves
swiftly offshore, roughly perpendicular to the shoreline. Under
most tide and sea conditions the speeds are relatively slow,
however under certain wave, tide and beach profile conditions, the
speeds can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering
the surf, even the most experienced swimmers.

Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars
and also near structures such as groins, jetties and piers. Rip
currents can be very narrow or extend in widths to hundreds of
yards. The seaward pull of rip currents varies from just beyond the
line of breaking waves to hundreds of yards offshore.

Some of the clues beachgoers can use to identify rip currents
include: a channel of churning, choppy water, an area having a
notable difference in water color, a line of foam, seaweed or debris
moving steadily seaward, or a break in the incoming wave pattern.
The above clues may or may not indicate the presence of rip currents
and rip currents are often not readily or easily identifiable to the
average beachgoer. If you are concerned about the possibilities of
rip currents occurring in the surf, it is best to ask an on duty
life guard before entering the water.

Tomorrow we will discuss rip current safety, and how the national
weather service forecasts rip currents, including what the different
risk levels mean. For more information about rip currents, please
visit or if you are at the beach, ask an
on duty lifeguard.

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