Hurricane Chris Increasing Rip Current Risk
The surfers are out in full force as waves from Hurricane Chris crash along the coast. Along with ideal surfing conditions, though, comes the risk of rip currents.
By: Tim Studebaker
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WLNE) – The surfers are out in full force as waves from Hurricane Chris crash along the coast.
Dylan Latham, a surfer from Matunuck, says, “Everything on the east side, which is the lighthouse and up this way, it's going to be a little blown out today just because the winds are out of the northeast. But, the south side is really good right now.”
Along with ideal surfing conditions, though, comes the risk of rip currents.
Narragansett Town Beach Senior Lifeguard Captain Brian Guadagno says, “Once water from heavy surf moves up onto the beach, it funnels its way back out, so it creates almost like a little river.”
That river can catch swimmers off guard and pull them out farther into the water, away from the safety of the beach. There are some signs you can look for.
Guadagno says, “You see white water, a consistent wave, and then there are spots where that white water doesn't develop in the same way. That water's running back against the waves.”
Other signs include discolored, cloudy, or sandy looking water. Narragansett Town Beach uses green, yellow, and red flags to help swimmers identify high risk days. Guadagno suggests swimming near lifeguards and knowing the risks. He says if you do get caught in a rip current, don't panic, and don't try to swim toward shore, against the rip current.
Guadagno says, “Just kind of float with it and relax. Typically, what happens is, they're not very long. So a swimmer can find their way out of it and then swim parallel to shore and around.”
Guadagno expects rip current risks to go up Wednesday night and Thursday.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018