Risk of Rip Currents Increases with Dorian

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As Dorian makes its way north, the waves will be building here in Southern New England. With the increased wave activity, the rip current risks will be increasing. Please remember, most beaches have no lifeguards this time of year. The water and the water’s edge will be especially dangerous with this rough surf. In addition, stay off of rocks and jetties. Waves larger than what you are frequently seeing are possible. Those larger waves can sweep you into the water.

Dorian is expected to pass to our south and east Friday night and Saturday morning.

Our waves will begin to build late Thursday and really grow through Friday. Wave heights just offshore could be 10 to 12 feet late Friday and Saturday.

Rip currents form when waves break near the shoreline. This piles up water between the beach and the breaking waves. That piled-up-water returns to sea in the form of a rip current, which is a narrow river of water moving quickly away from the shore.

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It can be hard to determine where rip currents are. Look for differences in water color and motion. The waves around a rip current can look different. Quite often, the water looks less choppy at the beginning of a rip current.

Below are two rip currents captured by Sky Drone 12 over Matunuck after Hurricane Jose passed by in 2017. There are two obvious rip currents visible in the photo.

Again, many beaches have no lifeguards this time of year. If you get caught in a rip current, you will feel yourself being taken out to sea quickly. It’s important to not panic. Don’t swim against the current, swim sideways, parallel to the beach. It’s best to just stay out of the water Friday and through the weekend.

In addition to ocean impacts, we are also expecting some rain and strong gusty winds over the weekend.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

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