NWS: Moderate risk of rip currents today for most of the Jersey Shore

    A lifeguard exiting the ocean after competing in the Seaside Park lifeguard tournament in July 2014. (Photo: Justin Auciello/JSHN)

    A lifeguard exiting the ocean after competing in the Seaside Park lifeguard tournament in July 2014. (Photo: Justin Auciello/JSHN)

    There is a moderate risk of rip currents today for most of the Jersey Shore, forecasters say. 

    A moderate risk means that swimmers should expect stronger or more frequent rip currents and always have a flotation device and swim only in life guarded areas. The risk is low for Cape May County.

    The risk is likely to be low this weekend for the entire Shore.

    Ocean temperatures have rebounded into the lower to middle 70s after dropping into the lower 60s after a “massive upwelling event” — when colder water at the bottom rises to the surface — due to a squall line passage on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. But the temperatures might dip again tomorrow after another round of upwelling.

    Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the shore, often occurring in low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties, and piers.

    According to NOAA, here’s how to identify a rip current: 

    A channel of churning, choppy water.
    An area having a notable difference in water color.
    A line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward.
    A break in the incoming wave pattern.

    Rip current speeds vary, with an average pull of 1-2 feet per second, but some can move as fast as 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer, according to NOAA.

    Your first line of defense is to check the surf forecast before you head to the beach. NOAA updates the forecast daily. Watch this informative NOAA video on rip current safety.

    If caught in a rip current, NOAA advises:

    Stay calm.
    Don’t fight the current.
    Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—toward shore.
    If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
    If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help.

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