FIRST ALERT: Rip current risk increases from far-off Hurricane Sam

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 7:15 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - While Category 4-strength Hurricane Sam remains about 1,000 miles away, it is boosting the danger from rip currents off the Lowcountry coast.

There is a moderate rip current risk from Charleston County to the southern tip of the state, while Georgetown and Horry County coastlines are at a higher risk, Live 5 Meteorologist Joey Sovine said.

As of 5 a.m. Friday, Hurricane Sam’s maximum sustained winds were near 150 mph with higher gusts.

“When a storm is this strong out over the ocean, there’s nothing really to block some of that wave action that is created way out here from reaching our coasts,” Sovine said.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water that flow away from shore and can pull you in that direction with them.

Beach visitors should be careful if they go into the water because of the rip current risk.

Anyone who gets caught in a rip current should relax and avoid trying to fight the current, which could cost precious energy and lead to drowning. Lifeguards say the best thing to do is swim out to the sides parallel to the shore to escape the current and then swim back to the shore.

That increased risk continues through Saturday, Sovine said.

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