Beware: Rip current season is here

Posted at 3:17 PM, May 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-20 15:17:26-04

You’re enjoying a day at the beach playing in the surf, when suddenly you find yourself being whisked out to sea! You’ve been caught in a rip current. It’s horrifying and can be deadly. Rip currents are responsible for 80% of beach lifeguard saves and cause an average 100 drowning deaths in the U.S. each year.
!WXPic2Rip currents are fast-moving channels of water that flow away from the shore and back
When the wind pushes water into shore, that water will usually travel parallel to the beach until it can find a way to return to sea. These rip currents usually form in small trenches between sand bars and can be hard to spot.
Rip currents usually form when the surf is rough, close to low tide or, in our area, when there’s a strong easterly wind.
On Thursday, March 23, the National Weather Service will start issuing rip current forecast for the summer months. Click HERE for the National Weather Service Rip Current Forecast
If you get caught in a rip current, experts warm you not to try to swim directly back to shore. !WXPic1That’s like running on a treadmill. You will make little progress and you’ll exhaust yourself. Instead, swim parallel to shore. Rip currents are very narrow, so you should break free of the rip current quickly. Once you do, then you can swim back to shore.
Here are some other helpful resources:
Click HERE to check area water temperatures
Click HERE to see NewsChannel 3’s Virginia Beach Cam
Patrick Rockey
NewsChannel 3 Chief Meteorologist

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