Rip currents likely this weekend, officials warn of rough surf

Posted at 5:48 AM, Sep 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-22 16:52:09-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Jose has passed, but the post-tropical cyclone is still causing rough surf and an increase in rip currents along the East Coast.

As Hurricane Maria moves north, officials warn beach-goers that we could see dangerous conditions at the ocean this weekend.

If you see red flags flying, it means the water is dangerous and rip currents are likely. Remain near lifeguards or stay out of the water altogether. While surfers will want to ride the waves, lifeguards warn them to do so with caution.

The National Weather Service has some advice for swimmers to know before getting into the water; helpful tips on how to survive a rip current.

First, stay calm. Do not try to fight the water because you risk making yourself tired and getting pulled back in. Try to float and let the current take you out a ways, then swim parallel to the beach to escape the pull. Swim diagonally to the beach to get back to shore once you are free.

If you swim towards white water where waves are crashing, it shows you where the sand bars are which can also help you get out of the strong current.

If you're on the beach and see someone caught in a rip current, just keep your eyes on them and try to get them help once the current releases them.

Surfers and swimmers also need to be mindful that when the ocean is rough there may be debris in the water, so be on the lookout for that as well.

To learn more about rip currents and how to survive them, check out the National Weather Service's website.