Southpoint beach, Ocracoke NC
Stormy Southpoint beach. Photo: C. Leinbach

The National Weather Service out of Newport/Morehead City said that the rip current risk will remain high in Eastern North Carolina through Wednesday evening.

This is a result, in part, of the  lingering swells of Hurricane Gert that passed north approximately 250 miles east of Cape Hatteras. 

The most likely time for strong rip  currents to occur is a couple of hours on either side of low tide.  Low tide on Wednesday on Ocracoke will be at 8:36 a.m. and 10:39 p.m.

The NWS on its website reports that the surf is dangerous for all levels of swimmers. Remember to heed the advice of the local beach patrol and flag warning systems.  

While lifeguards are on duty, they may have red flags out indicating no swimming, but when the lifeguards leave and take down the flags, that does not mean the threat is over, just that the lifeguards are off duty.

On Monday, a 63-year-old male died at around 5:10 p.m. while swimming near Ocracoke’s pony pen beach access.

He was reported to have been caught in a very strong rip current while attempting to rescue another swimmer in distress, according to a press release from the Outer Banks Group of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

To view the NWS rip current danger webpage, click here.

Wednesday’s weather forecast: A slight chance of showers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming light and variable. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

Wednesday night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 76. Northeast wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.



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  1. When the sandbar is close to shore and you feel a strong lateral current (parallel to shore) watch out!! That’s a very dangerous sign. Kids no deeper than belly button; adults no deeper than arm pits.!!

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