Beachgoers beware until Labor Day

Hurricane Earl is a huge weather and news story as the center approaches the outer banks of North Carolina tonight and Cape Cod, Massachusetts for Friday. While the worst weather will be reserved for these two locations, the entire east coast from Florida to Maine will have longer lasting effects potentially throughout the entire Labor Day weekend. Dangerous rip currents will likely remain a threat through at least Saturday and may potentially remain a threat all the way through Labor Day Monday. This could impact your travel plans for the Labor Day weekend if you thought one last beachfront weekend along the east coast would tide you over until next summer.

While storm surge flooding, wind damage, and power outages are primary concerns along certain coastal communities from Hurricane Earl for the next 24-48 hours, the rip current threat from churning waves will probably last much longer and cover a wider area than just Earl TMs direct effects.

What exactly is a rip current? This NOAA website is a great resource to learn what you need to know about rip currents. According to this website, Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. Rip currents can be killers. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on our nation's beaches exceeds 100. Rip currents account for over 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards. Other great information like tips and forecasts regarding rip currents can be found with these website links here and here.

Since Hurricane Earl is creating so much wind and wave action in the Atlantic, the threat for rip currents will continue through the Labor Day weekend from Florida to Maine. Here is the very latest forecast from the Tropical Prediction Center regarding Hurricane Earl TMs path. Central New York will not be affected by Hurricane Earl. However, a strong cold front will bring a big change of seasons our way for the upcoming weekend. It will be much cooler with occasional showers and a gusty breeze.

Have you ever experienced a rip current? Do you know someone who has? If so, let me know by commenting on this web story at the bottom of this web page.

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