Beach goers beware | Rip currents pose threat after Tropical Storm Elsa

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Horry County Emergency Management says strong storms don’t need to be active for rip currents to present a danger

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Tropical Storm Elsa’s rains left parts of South Carolina underwater Thursday but, 24 hours later, it’s a different story. 

Horry County Emergency Management officials are warning beach goers to take precaution when in the water as rip currents remain a threat though Elsa is gone from the Carolina Coast. 

Rip currents are similar to rivers of water moving toward the ocean. They can occur near any breaking waves. 

“I think the most important thing to know in terms of rip currents is that we don’t need a storm to be immediately on top of us in order to create the threat,” said Public Information Officer Thomas Bell. 

As Elsa moves further toward New Jersey and Long Island, Bell says rip currents are still an issue. 

“Just because Elsa is spinning just off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, there is still some rough current due to that. So that just highlights that storm could be a couple hundred miles away still causing some problems for our beaches,” Bell explained. 

If you ever get caught in a rip current, try floating to the end of the current or swim parallel to the current. 

“It can be very peaceful out on the ocean, and still have the risk, so that’s why we always recommend that if there is one piece of news people should check out every day is what is the weather like?” Bell stated, “If you’re heading to the beach, of course you are likely to say, ‘Hey, is it a good beach day today?’ But also go on a little further and look at the surf forecast.” 

The NOAA now has an experimental current forecast, which predicts rip currents 6 days in advance.