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Rip current risk increases at Carolina beaches

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 8:52 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Though the official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn’t officially start until June 1, each of the past six years have brought named storms prior to that date, and that trend may be followed in 2021.

A non-tropical system developing about 400 miles northeast of Bermuda today is tracking southwest and may take on sub-tropical (winter style) or perhaps even some tropical characteristics later today as it becomes better organized.

If it is named, it would be known as Ana (AH-nah).

While this storm is not forecast to have a direct, immediate impact on the U.S. east coast, the indirect impacts could prove to be quite dangerous.

As strong easterly swells emanate out from the center and push westward toward the Carolina coast, strong, frequent rip currents are forecast to develop, starting today and lingering through the weekend, particularly along the Outer Banks. Beachgoers there are advised to stay out of the water.

Even to the south, along the Crystal Coast and right on down through the Grand Strand and the Charleston-area beaches, a moderate risk for rip currents will be present over the weekend. As such, only experienced swimmers - who know how to recognize and escape rip currents - should enter the surf zone.

As the storms pulls away to the northeast early next week the risk for swells and rips should subside.

Stay tuned to WBTV and www.wbtv.com for further forecast updates and to track tropical developments and the latest WBTV weather forecast on the-go, download the free WBTV Weather app.

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

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