Tourists on the Carolina Shores, Beware: Tropical Storm Ana is Coming
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Hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1, but that didn’t stop the first named tropical storm of 2015 from popping up early. This means treacherous beach conditions along a large swath of the North and South Carolina coasts throughout the weekend, according to the Associated Press.
Less than 100 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach on Saturday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami via AP, Ana’s top sustained winds are 60 mph and it is moving northwest at 3 mph. The National Hurricane Center puts Ana "very near" the coasts of South and North Carolina on Sunday morning.
The center put the tropical storm warning from southern Santee River, S.C. to Cape Lookout, N.C. One to 3 inches of rain is expected, with isolated spots getting 5 inches. Water could rise 1 to 2 feet above normal height, causing localized flooding. A tropical storm watch also was in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, up through the southern tip of the Santee River.
But water activities, including hanging out at the beach and swimming in the ocean, which are big tourist draws for the area, are not recommended by local officials.
The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety has banned swimming in the ocean on Saturday because of the weather.
Warren Lee, Director of New Hanover County, N.C. Emergency Management, told AP, "Beachgoers are encouraged to use extreme caution this weekend … With the elevated risk of rip currents, the best advice is to stay out of the water when the risk for rip currents is the highest and comply with any advisories given by lifeguards."
Stacy Stewart, a hurricane specialist at the hurricane center, also urged caution. He told AP, "The biggest danger is rough surf and rip currents. We just don't want people out there swimming in the waters. We especially don't want surfers in the rough surf. If they go under they could get dragged out to sea." He also said that people watching the waves from jetties and piers should also be cautious.
Fishing charters, another big tourist draw, are being forced to cancel trips this weekend as well due to the inclement weather. The Weather Channel talked to Captain Andre of Wilmington, N.C.’s Feel Good Fishing Charters and Adventures, who lost all his weekend business due to the storm. He pointed out the impact this would have on the local economy. “This subtropical cyclone came at a really nasty time, right at the end of winter. We’re just trying to get going here — we’ve canceled just about everything for the weekend.” He added, “it affects everybody else, from the hotels all the way to the guy who sells ice cream at the beach.”
More by Michael Isenbek
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