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Active Atlantic creates danger on the North Carolina coast

Four named storms in The Atlantic are creating a higher risk for rip currents on the shore.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 7:36 PM EDT
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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WITN) - Red flags are up on the North Carolina coast, and rescue officials in Emerald Isle are expecting them to stay waving for the foreseeable future.

“It’s kind of an unprecedented time for us,” said Emerald Isle Deputy Fire Chief William Matthias. “We have seen a reduction in population as far as the beach strand is concerned. But, we do attribute that some to the higher water volume and the higher tides.”

As Hurricane Sally tears up buildings and drops more than two inches of rain on parts of the gulf coast, four named storms in the Atlantic Ocean have pushed the tide up and made for dangerous currents on the coast.

It’s typically a perfect storm for those enjoying some fishing on the pier, but not this time.

“Just crabs today,” said Anita Norris, who’s visiting Emerald Isle with her husband for a few days. “I think he’s eating our bait.”

Anita Norris has been with her husband, Pete, for 36 years, exactly. They spent their anniversary enjoying some fishing on Bogue Inlet Pier as the white caps crashed on the shore.

“I just kinda took it up,” said Pete Norris, who said he’s been fishing for his whole life, 40 years. His wife corrected him that it’s actually more than 50. “Since she liked it, you know how that works. If you’re going to stay married, you have to do what they like to do. And I enjoy it, it’s kinda relaxing sometimes.”

While the surf hasn’t been churning up anything for the Norris', it has been churning up dangerous rip currents and high tides, covering nearly the entire beach.

“Lifeguards are out there until September 30,” said Matthias. “The water is very warm. With our tropics as active as they are.”

There have been no rip current rescues since this weekend when there were two, according to Emerald Isle rescue officials, and there have been no deaths related to rip currents in the last week.

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