TODAY'S PAPER

Labor Day weekend beachgoers could face rip tides, dangerous waves

Labor Day weekend beaches could be rife with rip tides and dangerous waves due to several storm systems nearby, according to Accuweather.com / Howard Schnapp

Everybody out of the water!

A mass of multiple storms in the Atlantic makes it likely that our local ocean beaches will be rife with rip currents and high swells Labor Day weekend, raising risks to swimmers, according to Accuweather.com.

Hurricane Gaston has created large swells over the ocean and Tropical Depression Eight has whipped up waters from Georgia to North Carolina. More recently, Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico is getting ready to take a jog northward.

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No matter what direction the latest weather mass heads, “surf conditions are going to be high. . . . You still have the plunging effect” in the ocean caused by the established storms, warned Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. “Rip currents are always there, but there are more of them and they’re stronger when you have a storm out at sea,” he added.

The rip tides and swells are likely to affect all open ocean beaches, though waters in protected bays and inlets will be less turbulent. Swimmers should swim only where lifeguards are posted, and heed all warnings to stay out of the water or to avoid specific areas.

Rip tides are typically strongest near jettys, so try to avoid swimming near such outcroppings, Sosnowski said. And if you get caught in a rip tide, don’t fight the pull but swim parallel to shore (preferably in a direction away from a jetty) until it lessens.

And the weather for our long weekend? That’s anybody’s guess as of yet, but temps are likely to be in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 60s. If you’re planning a rain-free barbeque, Saturday will probably be drier than Sunday, Sosnowski prognosticated.

But if you love the sun, don’t despair. This weekend probably won’t be hot enough to make you want to swim, but “I don’t think we’re done with summertime heat. We’ll have a warm fall with above average temps with the potential for some 90 degree days in September,” Sosnowski predicted.