RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Hurricane Larry is more than 1,000 miles away from central North Carolina with winds sustained at 110 miles per hour.
Fortunately, Larry will not impact the United States directly, but this powerful storm will continue to make the waters near our coast rough.
So why is that?
At its strongest point, Hurricane Larry was a high-end Category 3 with sustained winds at 125 miles per hour, and for three days straight had winds sustained between 120-125 miles per hour.
That’s a powerful storm with a lot of energy and a lot of waves.
Larry produced wave heights up to 40 feet near its center, and even now wave heights are 10-20 feet high.
Larry is expected to weaken slightly as it moves to the northeast, but it takes a lot longer for the waves to calm down around a tropical system, so that wave energy will continue to push toward the East Coast.
That does not mean we’re going to have 20-foot waves off Cape Hatteras, but we will have waves anywhere from 5 to 7 feet just offshore, and it only takes waves of 2-3 feet to cause dangerous rip currents.
Nearly our entire coast is outlined in a high risk for rip currents as the swells from Larry push our way.
It can sometimes be hard to spot a rip current, but the easiest way is to look for unusual breaks in waves, a difference in color or motion of the water, or even seafoam being pulled out to sea.
If you get caught in a rip current remember to not panic, and don’t swim against it.
While rip currents can take you out more than 100 yards, they will eventually weaken, and you will be able to break free by swimming parallel to the coastline.
Fortunately, our rip current risk will decrease by the weekend, but remember to always swim safely, even if the rip current risk isn’t high.