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Rip Current Risk Definitions

Low Risk Wind and/or wave conditions are not expected to support the development of rip currents. However, rip currents may occur at any time, especially in the vicinity of groins, jetties, and piers. Typically, rip currents that form during these days are weak and may only pose threats to very weak swimmers or toddlers. During low risk days the potential for life threatening rip currents is at a minimum. On low risk days, rescues by area life guards would be very low if any at all.
Moderate Risk Some or all of the conditions that support stronger rip currents are becoming factors, thus the magnitude of rip currents will likely increase. At this stage, persons entering the surf are urged to exercise caution. The number of rescues by area life guards may increase proportionally on moderate risk days.
High Risk Wind and/or wave conditions are expected to support the development of very strong rip currents. This category implies that rip currents are life threatening to all people who enter the surf. There may be a high number of rescues on high risk days.

National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Wilmington, NC
2015 Gardner Drive
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 762-4289

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Page Last Modified: 19 December 2005 5:53 PM


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