Hurricane Preparedness Day 6

Written by on May 18, 2018 in Tropics

800 AM EDT FRI MAY 18 2018


All week long the National Weather Service will issue informative messages to help you prepare for the hurricane
season. Today’s topics include rip currents, and identify your trusted sources of information.

Rip Currents

Even when hurricanes stay out at sea, the North Carolina coast can still be impacted by large swells and deadly rip
currents, thus making it important to stay aware of the tropics and weather forecasts all throughout the hurricane
season. Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. Rip currents
are quite common and can be found on many surf beaches every day. They typically form at breaks in sandbars,
and also near structures such as jetties and piers. While the risk of rip currents occurring along the North
Carolina beaches increases when a tropical cyclone is out in the Atlantic, the risk increases even more so when a
tropical cyclone is moving toward the North Carolina coast, especially when the storm is a day or two away from
making landfall along the Carolina coast.

Rip currents are dangerous because they can pull people away from shore. Rip current speeds can vary from
moment to moment and can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the surf. Rip currents can
sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Some clues that a rip current may be present include a channel of
churning, choppy water, a difference in water color, a break in the incoming wave pattern, and a line of foam,
seaweed or debris moving seaward.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight the current. Escape the current by swimming
in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—
toward shore. If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at
an angle away from the current toward shore. If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw
attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help. Also, don’t become a victim while trying to help
someone else! Many people have died in efforts to rescue rip current victims. Instead, get help from a lifeguard.
If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape. If possible, throw the rip current victim something
that floats. Call 9-1-1 for further assistance.
Identify Your Trusted Sources of Information
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is your official source for hurricane forecasts and the issuance of hurricane
watches and warnings. Your local NOAA National Weather Service forecast office provides information regarding
the expected impacts from the storm for your area. Emergency managers will make the decisions regarding
Organizations such as FLASH make disaster safety recommendations. And the media outlets will broadcast this
information to you. All work together to be your trusted sources, especially for those less able to take care of

Here are some additional suggestions regarding where to get trusted tropical storm and hurricane information:
     • Television: Tune in to your trusted local news source.
     • Phone: Access on your mobile phone and get Wireless Emergency Alerts.
     • Radio: Receive forecast information and news on your NOAA Weather Radio.
     • Social Media: Follow official government agencies, trusted media partners, and share critical information
     with friends and family.
     • Computer: Access information from,,, and

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