High surf conditions like this can be life-threatening and one should not venture into the water in these conditions. Photo: P. Vankevich

Three water-related deaths on the Outer Banks in the past couple of days have officials urging people to use extreme caution when venturing into the surf.

On Wednesday evening, a man identified as from Enfield, Connecticut, died in an apparent drowning at the Nags Head fishing pier.

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, a 68-year-old man from Hillsboro, Ohio, died in a water-related incident off southern Hatteras Island, near off-road (ORV) ramp 55 and on Monday 28-year-old woman from Washington, D.C., died in a water-related incident in northern Avon village.

A witness stated that the woman was overtaken by strong waves and disappeared in the surf and was observed face-down in rough ocean conditions.

Dare County emergency services agencies responded to the incidents, but in both cases, cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

The storms Franklin and Idalia in the last two weeks have caused dangerous high surf and rip currents all along the Outer Banks.

These conditions are expected to continue as Hurricane Lee, which has developed into a monster Category 5, moves north and well out to sea.

Today (Friday) there is a moderate rip current risk at the beaches from Cape Hatteras north to Southern Shores and Duck.

There is a low rip current risk south of Cape Hatteras, including Frisco, Hatteras Village and Ocracoke. While the risk for rip currents is low, life-threatening rip currents may still be present. Remember, LOW risk does not mean NO risk.

Only experienced surf swimmers who know how to escape a rip current should enter the water. Never swim alone and always take flotation.

For official information, online sources include local tropical page, the National Hurricane Center and the hurricane preparedness page

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