Dangerous rip currents along the coast of North Carolina

Hurricane Lee impacts the east along the coast.
Hurricane Lee impacts the east along the coast.(Olivia Dols)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 8:46 PM EDT
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NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, N.C. (WITN) - Several people have died in Eastern Carolina due to rip currents, which is why people need to stay safe while on the beach.

Family and friends gathered on the beach to enjoy the sun on Wednesday. Michelle Moore, who visits the area says she’s been visiting North Topsail Beach since she’s been 13-years-old.

“This is my third trip this year, so a lot in the summer and I’ll come back in October,” said Moore.

However, the currents are worse now after the deaths of rip currents along the coast. Earlier this month, a 16-year-old died near the north end of the inlet.

However, with Hurricane Lee around 700 miles east of the coast, rip currents will be high from Wednesday to Friday.

“Some people come here, and they’ve never been here before and they don’t know what the water is like. Instantly, when I walked up I said it’s rough.”

Rip currents will get bad over the next few days, which is why Moore wants to see change along the coast.

“We almost need lifeguards which is something I would like to see in the future,” said Moore.

The main goal for both officials and residents is the stay safe while out in the water. Nicole Merchant lives in the area and shares what she does to prepare.

“You never know what waves are coming towards you,” said Merchant. “You might be sitting and think that you’re fine, so just always pay attention and be aware of your surroundings, and always be on the lookout because mother nature, she’s a beast”

Officials want to remind people to check the flag status of the area and understand what the colors mean before they go into the water. If you decide to go into the water over the next few days and get caught in a rip current, make sure to swim sideways along the shoreline and get out when it is safe.