Rip current threat lingers even as Cristobal dissipates

WASHINGTON – While Hurricane Cristobal has now been downgraded to a powerful extratropical cyclone off the coast of Nova Scotia Canada, it continues to move to the northeast and during the next day or two, it will be absorbed by another area of low pressure in the northern Atlantic.


With that being said, the threat for rip currents and high surf still remains moderate to high at local beaches as well as beaches all up and down the East Coast.


If you are headed to the beach for this beautiful Labor Day weekend, please be sure to obey the flags and know what they mean. Here’s a reminder:

  • Double Red: Beach is closed to the public
  • Single Red: high hazard, e.g., strong surf or currents
  • Yellow: medium hazard
  • Green: Calm conditions although caution is still necessary
  • Purple: Dangerous marine life, but not sharks.

Rip currents do not discriminate along our areas beaches either, so how can you identify them and keep you and your family safe? These currents can occur along any beach that features breaking waves (including the Great Lakes). They are unfortunately subject to formation at any time during the day and more likely right before low tide. The swells generated by Cristobal and brisk onshore flow are creating the environment for a higher risk of rip currents.

Just Wednesday, an 18-year-old man drowned in Ocean City.

Learn more about rip currents and how they form here.

Despite the risk of rip currents, the beach forecast for the holiday weekend is looking bright.


Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook. You can also follow Lauryn Ricketts on Facebook.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up