North Carolina Marine Fisheries today issued a swimming advisory for all of Dare and Currituck counties citing concern for excessive bacteria in the coastal waters due to flooding.
According to the press release, officials advise people to "avoid swimming in coastal waters in and around Dare and Currituck counties due to high rainfall and flooding from recent storms that may lead to excessive bacteria in the water."
State officials will begin resampling locations in and around Dare and Currituck counties 24 hours after storm water pumping has ceased and roads are passable.
Waters impacted by the slow-moving storms "can contain elevated levels of bacteria that can make people sick," said J.D. Potts, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program. "Floodwaters and stormwater runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals."
Threat of more flooding persists
The weather throughout the Outer Banks continues to make driving conditions difficult.
Widespread rainfall amounts of 2 to 6 inches with locally heavier amounts are possible through Wednesday evening, which could result in areas of continued localized flooding. A prolonged period of unsettled weather will linger into Thursday.
Small craft and dangerous rip current advisories remain in effect.
Remember: It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.
Drivers are urged to remain alert to road conditions. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
Stay out of the water
Current weather conditions produce dangerous rip currents, strong shore break — which occur when waves break directly on the beach — strong longshore current, and 5-feet to 7-feet surf.
People, even strong swimmers, are urged to stay out of the water.
If caught in a rip current:
- Remain calm
- Don`t fight the current
- Swim in a direction following the shoreline
- When out of the current, swim back to shore.
- If tired, float or tread water until out of the rip current. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.
The most common injuries with strong shore break are neck and back injuries, which most often occur when the powerful surf throws a swimmer or surfer head first into the bottom. It is extremely important to protect your head and neck whenever you are in breaking waves by keeping your hands in front of you at all times.
Strong longshore currents can sweep swimmers and surfers into rip currents, piers, jetties and other hazardous areas.
In many cases, the longshore current is strong enough to prevent swimmers from being able to keep their feet on the bottom making it difficult to return to shore.