HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The National Weather Service has issued a coastal hazard message of increased rip current risk for beaches in Brunswick and Horry counties.
Wind and wave conditions are favorable for strong rip currents today, according to the NWS office in Wilmington, North Carolina.
There were two confirmed rip current drownings in Brunswick County Wednesday, and three other people were hospitalized after being rescued.
Over 45 rip rescues were reported in North Myrtle Beach Wednesday, according to the NWS warning.
Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the shore, which most often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar, and near structures like piers, jetties and groins.
"Heed the advice of lifeguards and the beach patrol," the warning states. "Pay attention to flags and posted signs."
Stay calm if caught in a rip current, and swim parallel to the shore, the NWS office states. Once you are away from the force of the current, begin to swim back to the beach. Do not swim directly against a rip current – even a strong swimmer can be exhausted quickly.
Southeast swells of 4 to 5 feet at 7 seconds will create breaking waves of 3 to 4 feet at the Brunswick and Northern Horry County beaches, the NWS states. South-southeast winds at 10 to 15 knots will further enhance the rip current threat.