Red flags are flying up and down the North Carolina coast, warning beachgoers of dangerous and potentially life-threatening ocean conditions.
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Hurricane Florence is still spinning in the Atlantic, but its latest path as of Sunday is centered on Wilmington. And the storm’s effects are already being felt at local beaches.
Red flags warning people to stay out of the ocean were flying on Nags Head beaches, the town wrote on its website Sunday.
“The Town of Nags Head’s Fire and Rescue Department is posting ‘No Swimming’ red flags on Nags Head’s beach due to choppy conditions, large swell, and the high threat of rip currents,” the town wrote. “A posted red flag means swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is prohibited until dangerous conditions subside and the red flags are lowered.”
The town identifies who can enter the water specifically.
“Swimming means any entry into the Atlantic ocean, whether assisted by a raft, an inflatable device, or anything similar in nature,” the town wrote.
But surfers could be allowed to take advantage of the swells Florence is creating if they have the right equipment.
“Those using surfboards that are fiberglass and foam, which are at least five feet long, with at least one fin and a leash, may enter the water. The same is true for those using a body board and fins (not SCUBA fins) that consist of a foam core encapsulated by a durable hard plastic bottom, a foam top deck, and foam side rails,” the town wrote. “The core of the body board must be made of polyethylene or polypropylene that incorporates stringers for rigidity. A durable coiled leash must be attached securely to the front of the board. However, those using Styrofoam boards or boards affixed with a nylon mesh cover and woven cord leash are not allowed into the water.”
CBS17 reported that the National Weather Service said there were more than 12 water rescues related to dangerous currents at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday.
For the latest beach forecasts from the National Weather Service, including rip current warnings, go to www.weather.gov/beach/mhx.