NEWPORT BEACH, CA — Surf's up in Newport Beach this weekend, but the National Weather Service has issued a warning for rip tides and elevated swells.
On Tuesday the weather service announced southwest swells, with a 15 to 17 second period that would bring 3 to 5 foot and occasionally 6 foot surf through Wednesday. The highest surf was expected throughout Orange County, they said.
"A larger southwest swell will generate larger surf Saturday into Monday," they reported. "Strong rip and longshore currents are likely at all beaches over the fourth of July holiday weekend."
That high risk of rip currents will exist off all of Orange County shores.
Rip currents or rip tides are powerful currents of water that move away from the beaches.
Expect relatively small-scale surf-zone current moving away from the beach Monday through Tuesday and a more moderate risk of rip currents beginning Wednesday, the NWS reports.
"Rip currents form as waves disperse along the beach causing water to become trapped between the beach and a sandbar or other underwater feature," according to the NWS. "The water converges into a narrow, river-like channel moving away from the shore at high speed."
Rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer away from the shore, according to NWS.
If you get caught in a rip current, remember the following:
- Relax. Rip currents don't pull you under.
- Don't swim against the current.
- Swim out and away from the current, then move to shore.
- If you can't escape, then float or tread water.
- If you need help, yell or wave for assistance.
The NWS advises swimmers to swim near a lifeguard at the beach and follow these other important safety measures:
- Know how to swim.
- Never go swimming alone.
- If in doubt, don't go out.
"Please check with your local authorities on potential beach closures," the NWS reports.
To learn more about rip currents and how to identify them, learn more on the website.