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Potential cyclone predicted to hit ocean harder than land

How to survive if you get caught in a rip current

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescues, and can be dangerous or deadly if you don't know what to do. This video from NOAA Ocean Today shows you how to break the grip of the ri
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Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescues, and can be dangerous or deadly if you don't know what to do. This video from NOAA Ocean Today shows you how to break the grip of the ri

A low pressure system gaining strength off of the Georgia coast on Sunday has prompted a tropical storm watch for coastal counties from South Santee to Surf City, North Carolina.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., were predicting a high risk for marine impacts with the approaching system Sunday evening, but the potential cyclone had yet to gain enough clout to be named Tropical Storm Irma.

“At this time it appears that it will be a low impact event for us, with the bulk of the wind and rain remaining just offshore,” said Steven Pfaff, a warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS.

Winds are expected to increase in northeast South Carolina primarily along immediate coastal areas Monday afternoon into evening, Pfaff said in his latest update. “Spotty power and communication outages (are) possible.”

Little, if any, tornado impacts were expected as of Sunday night.

Rainfall for coastal counties was predicted to increase Monday into Monday night and early Tuesday morning with the possibility of 2-3 inches of rain along the coast and 2 inches or less inland. Localized flooding, especially near poor drainage and other flood prone areas could occur. River flooding was not expected in the latest update.

The biggest predicted impacts, however, seem to be in the surf, according to Pfaff’s release.

Hazardous boating conditions, steep waves near inlet entrances, strong rip currents and rough surf is likely for the coast through Tuesday morning.

“Hazardous maritime conditions (are) expected for boaters as the storm moves through with rough seas and steep waves in the vicinity of inlet entrances,” according to the update. Some erosion and minor ocean overwash is possible for beachfront properties around high tide Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

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