Could a low pressure near the Bahamas bring much-needed rain to the Wilmington area?

Tropical conditions at 10:42 a.m. on June 20, 2024.
Tropical conditions at 10:42 a.m. on June 20, 2024.

The National Hurricane Center has identified a low-pressure system in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean that might affect the North Carolina coast.

As of Thursday morning, the system was located approximately 150 miles east of the northernmost Bahamas, producing disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"While environmental conditions are only marginally conducive due to nearby dry air, further development of this system could lead to the development of a tropical depression," according to the National Hurricane Center, as the system nears the northeastern coast of Florida or the Georgia coast early Friday.

There is a 40% of formation within the next 48 hours and a consistent 40% chance of formation throughout the next seven days.

What to expect in the Wilmington area

Hazardous weather is not expected in Southeastern North Carolina on Thursday.

"Hot and humid weather is expected this weekend into middle of next week with afternoon heat indexes possibly reaching Heat Advisory levels (105 degrees), especially Sunday and Monday," according to the National Weather Service Hazardous Weather Outlook in Wilmington.

A high rip current risk is expected for the New Hanover and Pender County coasts with significant impacts forecasted for Friday. Brunswick County coasts are advised of a moderate rip current risk, with elevated risks on Friday.

According to the National Weather Service, rain chances will increase beginning Friday into next week, from 20-50 percent.

Inland areas of New Hanover County may experience minor coastal flooding along the lower Cape Fear River during the evening high tides on Friday and Saturday.

A small craft advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. on Friday.

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What are rip currents?

Rip currents are narrow, fast-moving currents of water that flow away from the shore at surf beaches, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association. Often, these currents move swimmers far from shore before they realize it, pulling them into deeper waters. This can cause fear and distress as swimmers attempt to return to safety.

Identifying and responding to rip currents

Rip currents can be challenging to spot, but beachgoers should look for darker, choppy water that disrupts the incoming wave pattern. They form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, piling up water between the breaking waves and the beach. The water returns to sea through the rip current. Another clue may be a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, do not swim against the current.

While it may be difficult to do, the U.S. Lifesaving Association says swimmers should "relax," noting the rip current will not pull them under. Swimmers should try swimming out of the current in a direction following the shoreline, or toward breaking waves, then at an angle toward the beach.

The U.S. Lifesaving Association notes if the current circulates back toward the shore, floating or treading water may be a good way to get out of the current.

Are you prepared for a hurricane?

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Even if this system won't pose a threat to the NC coast, it's never too early to be prepared.

GET READY:Here's what to know about hurricane preparedness if you live in the Wilmington area.

Other tropical systems

Behind Tropical Storm Alberto, which has made landfall in northeastern Mexico, another low-pressure system has been forecasted to form over southeastern Mexico and northern Central America on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development after this system moves over the Bay of Campeche on Saturday," according to the National Hurricane Center. "A tropical depression could form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend while it moves slowly west-northwestward or northwestward."

There is a low chance of formation, approximately 20 percent, through the next 28 hours. Chances of formation increase to 50 percent throughout the next seven days.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Chance of rain for Wilmington, NC, increases this weekend

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