Heading to the beach? Beware…

Published 5:33 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

Nobody’s paying much attention to Jose. The hurricane is minor blip on the weather radar compared to the catastrophic workings of hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the last several weeks. While the southeast reels from the damage done, Jose has been meandering out in the Atlantic — first on a path toward Florida, then making a wide loop that will supposedly take it much farther north than North Carolina or out to sea altogether.

At this point in his life, Jose appears not to be a threat to North Carolina. Of course, that could always change with the weather, and, as expected, Jose gained a little strength Friday and became a Category 1 hurricane. Jose poses another type of threat, however, and it’s one that has little to do with 74-95 mph winds or torrential rain. This threat takes place on sunny, breezy days where the weather may be just fine, but the water is the true danger.

Jose is out to sea, but his effects will be seen up and down the entire of coast of North Carolina this weekend and into next week. Over 10 days in July, there were 80 rescues and four deaths due to rip currents. In the last two and a half weeks, two boats have vanished off the North Carolina coast: Aug. 28, two boaters were reported missing after they didn’t return to Oak Island from a fishing trip; this week, one man was rescued, another pronounced dead and a third is still missing after the 19-foot skiff they were fishing from capsized.

Mid-September in North Carolina is still prime beach and fishing weather. But this weekend, into next week, surf and rip current advisories will be in effect. It may be summer’s last blast, but if headed out on the ocean over the next few days, beware of Jose. Storms these days throw a wider net than ever before.