Those heading to the beach for Labor Day weekend are being urged to stay safe.
Hurricane Earl is strengthening into a Category 4 storm as it passes through the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. For the second weekend in a row, that might make things dangerous for swimmers along the South Carolina coast. While forecasters predict Earl will easily miss South Carolina, its presence offshore will cause dangerous rip currents for swimmers in the Lowcountry and Grand Strand.
Strong winds are predicted to hit Charleston Thursday as Earl passes 400 miles off the coast. Waves could reach 8 feet by Thursday evening, with some swells reaching 10-15 feet. Although Earl is predicted to pass the coast on Thursday, forecasters expect dangerous rip currents to continue into the weekend. When Hurricane Danielle passed much further out last week, the resulting rip currents remained for several days afterwards, creating a dangerous situation for beachgoers.
Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach hotel and resort owners are also preparing for a possible loss of business. Rip currents are predicted to be worse at Grand Strand beaches, as Earl is expected be closer to shore. Would-be vacationers should remember that hotels usually don’t provide refunds unless an official evacuation is ordered – unlikely with Hurricane Earl.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the storm continued its northwestly direction. The National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on Earl’s progress, including the possibility of the hurricane of landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.