WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C.--Swells from Hurricane Maria will increase the risk for rip currents, rough surf and hazardous boating conditions in our area.

A high rip current risk was issued Saturday and Maria’s track likely means more of the same in the next couple of days.

As of 3:41 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue reported more than 25 rip current rescues due to strong rip currents.

The National Weather Service has issued a high rip current risk until 8 p.m. Saturday night and a high surf advisory is in effect from 6 a.m. Sunday until 8 p.m. Monday.

“Strong rip currents can occur at any time, but will be especially strong a few hours either side of low tide,” the NWS said in a statement Saturday. “Breakers will increase Sunday, but are expected to be highest Monday. Powerful wave and rip currents could result in injuries to anyone who enters the surf.”

Sandy Lacourt with the NWS in Wilmington said she had not received reports of large numbers of rip current rescues at other beaches in the area on Saturday and even though the Wrightsville Beach reports are alarming, the rip current situation could be worse.

“A couple of years ago we had a situation in Myrtle Beach (SC) where we had 100 (ocean rescues) in a day,” Lacourt said. “It’s hard to compare, but 25 is 25 more than we’d like to have.”

Lacourt advised anyone heading to the beach this weekend to heed lifeguard warnings and added that strong rip currents may be an issue off our coast until Tuesday.

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