TS Bertha forces red flags along the Outer Banks

FILE // Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, North Carolina (WAVY/Liz Palka)

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) — Tropical Storm Bertha forced lifeguards to put up red flags along the Outer Banks Tuesday.

“Mother nature, she’s not playing,” said Jon Gates, the assistant director of Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue. “When those wave start coming in, she is not playing whatsoever, and it will just knock you right off your feet.”

Gates said some of his guards were also having problems in the water on Tuesday. So the ocean rescue guards ended up pulling out the red flags by noon.

In Kill Devil Hills, red flags mean “no swimming.” Gates said people are only allowed in the water up to their knees. Guards do make exceptions for surfers with a board attached to their leg and experienced body boarders wearing fins.

This week is a popular summer vacation week for the Outer Banks, and for many, Tuesday was their second day out on the beach.

‘It’s been a little disappointing,” said Mark Patel, who is in town from Michigan. “Came here because we wanted to surf the waves.”

Although, the weather was nice enough Tuesday, Patel and others said they didn’t mind the red flag warnings too much.

Gates said guards will be deciding whether to put the warning up again Wednesday morning. A lot of that decision will depend on what time low tide happens during the day. Guards won’t know if red flags will be back up until they can get out and check the conditions.

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