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Here's What A Rip Current Looks Like From The Beach

A picture of the Fishing Pier at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

It’s National Rip Current Awareness Week. 

Rip currents killed at least seven people along the North Carolina coast last year, according to the National Weather Service.

Spencer Rogers is a specialist on shore erosion for North Carolina Sea Grant.  He says rip currents are a natural phenomenon that happen when narrow currents of water flow away from the coast.

“Problem is that on certain conditions, with waves and tides they become extremely dangerous.  They all of a sudden can become faster than the capacity of an Olympic swimmer.”

Rogers says most rip currents are 50 to 100 feet wide.  People caught in a rip current are advised to swim across the current, parallel to the shore rather than trying to swim against it.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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