The National Weather Service is forecasting continued enhanced risk of rip currents and more potential coastal issues as Hurricane Lee threatens the Caribbean.

The NWS, out of Morehead City/Newport, said Wednesday that the storm’s general forecast is to develop into a major hurricane and a long period swell from Lee will lead to an increased risk rip currents Sunday through the rest of next week regardless of what happens with the eventual storm track.

Now, however, it’s way too early to know what, if any, direct impacts coast Carolina will see, the NWS said, advising that the public not to “anchor on any one forecast” and continue to check with trusted sources of information for the latest updates.

A moderate rip current risk continues for Ocracoke.

At Hatteras and northward, a high rip current risk persists, and two visitors have succumbed to water-related in the last few days.

 A 28-year-old woman from Washington, D.C., died Sept 4 in a water-related incident in front of the village of Avon and a 68-year-old man from Hillsboro, Ohio, died Sept. 5 in a water-related incident off southern Hatteras Island, both in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, urged all to be aware of the potentially dangerous surf.

“Visitors wading into the surf, even as shallow as waist deep, may be overcome by large waves, suffer injuries, and may be overtaken by rough ocean conditions making it difficult, if not impossible, for all but the strongest, most experienced swimmers to survive,” he said in a statement about the recent deaths.

“We urge visitors to avoid entering the ocean when the rip current risk is moderate or high and when the waves are more than one to two1-2 feet in height.

“Moreover, even in the calmest conditions, swimming off the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore is much more difficult than swimming in a pool or lake and only the most experienced should consider entering the water.

“All swimmers should have leashed floatation with them (body board or surfboard) and a friend or family member on the beach to watch them at all times.

“While you may see surfers seemingly effortlessly riding the waves, do not be tempted to enter the ocean during these hazardous conditions. The majority of surfers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are competent athletes that have developed significant skills and experience or time to engage in their sport.

“Consider spending time on a sound-side beach, including locations such as the Haulover, Salvo on Hatteras and Devil Shoals Road on Ocracoke for a safer opportunity to enjoy the water when hazardous ocean conditions are present.”

Please continue to monitor official sources of information such as our local tropical page and the National Hurricane Center. You can also share our hurricane preparedness page

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