(WAVY) – Swimming is still not allowed along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Tuesday, but the red flags have come down in the Outer Banks.
Officials in Kill Devil Hills said red flags were up Monday due to 20 mph onshore winds making the water very choppy. The winds and increased surf in Virginia Beach have created a higher risk for rip currents.
When red flags go up, no swimming is allowed.
Gary Felch, a captain with the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, said guards were only letting people go in the water up to their knees or waist. He said even some lifeguards could feel the rip currents as they were in the water Monday.
“The lifeguards are being extra cautious,” said Kashawna Watson, who is visiting the resort city from Washington, D.C. “They’re not letting people go out further than what you see pretty much, and they’re blowing the whistles and telling you to come back in.”
“If it’s rough on more experienced swimmers, it’s definitely going to be rough on some of the novice swimmers as well,” Felch said.
Monday afternoon, Nags Head Ocean Rescue tweeted that they had to rescue at least a dozen people already because of rip currents. Around 7 p.m., Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service told WAVY’s Liz Palka there had been 13 rescues at the Oceanfront throughout the day. No one needed medical attention.
In four hours, there were 20 rescues in Nags Head and 35 in Corolla. In the Duck/Southern Shores area there were 30 rescues in about an hour, whereas Kill Devil Hills had just four rescues all day.
According to the city of Virginia Beach, “Rip currents are strong, narrow channels of water that flow out to sea. If you become caught in a rip current, try to swim parallel to the beach until you escape the rip, then swim at an angle in to shore. Do not try to swim back to shore directly against the current; it can exhaust and even kill the strongest swimmer. Always heed the advice of lifeguards. Pay attention to flags and signs posted near beach access points and lifeguard stations.”
For more information on rip currents in Virginia Beach, check out this story by WAVY News on YouTube by clicking here. Lifeguards on watch will also be able to answer any questions.
The National Weather Service also provides rip current forecasts, general information and safety tips online: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/akq/marine/rip.php
Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.