Dangerous Rip Currents to Threaten East Coast Beachgoers This Weekend

By Andy Mussoline, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
July 5, 2014; 9:47 PM ET
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Play video AccuWeather's Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams discusses upcoming eastern weather as Arthur heads to Canada.

Dangerous surf and rip currents will threaten East Coast beachgoers through at least Saturday before conditions improve on Sunday.

Arthur will still be responsible for rough surf and dangerous rip currents along much of the East Coast through Saturday, despite the worst of Arthur's rain and wind heading into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

"Sunshine and warmth will greet beachgoers from southern New England to the mid-Atlantic, but those heading into the water should be wary of dangerous rip currents," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Kevin Taylor of Savannah, Georgia, heads out to surf the waves on the north beach of Tybee Island as Hurricane Arthur makes its way up the East Coast, Thursday, July 3, 2014. The storm has bypassed the Georgia coast as predicted, but forecasters are warning beachgoers to beware of dangerous rip currents in its wake. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

The highest risk of rip currents will be from North Carolina and points north through Saturday. A smaller, but albeit still dangerous threat, will remain across the Southeast coast.

Rip currents are narrow, fast-moving channels of water that move away from the beach due to irregularities along the shoreline such as sandbars and piers. If caught in one, a rip current can pull a swimmer far away from the shoreline.

"If caught in a rip current, the best thing to do is to swim parallel to the shore out of the rip current," Ocean Rescue Supervisor David Elder of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department recently told AccuWeather.

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Aside from the rip current threat, Saturday's surf will break particularly rough as Arthur sends swells down the East Coast.

The waves may appear much calmer to those flocking to the beaches from Ocean City, Maryland, to Wildwood, New Jersey, and Jones Beach, New York, on Saturday, but swimmers should be wary of rough surf that can overpower swimmers.

Swimmers should stay in close view of lifeguards and keep in touch with them to find the safest areas to swim.

"By Sunday, the rip current threat will be lower across much of the East Coast," said Anderson.

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