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Weather Works: How rip currents form

Meteorologist Taylor Stephenson explains how rip currents form and how to stay safe at the beach in this episode of "Weather Works."

MACON, Ga. — Beaches are one of the go-to places for summer relaxation. Of course, the thrill about being on the beach is having fun in the ocean.

Sometimes though, rip currents can ruin that fun. Rip currents form when waves break apart on the shoreline.

Between the waves, a channel is created to pull the beached water back into the ocean.

These currents happen every day, at any beach. Most rip currents happen during low tide and are generally too weak to pose serious threats to swimmers.

The suction can become stronger though when storms or tropical systems in the area kick up more water and make the waves taller. 

That's because as wave height increase, the speed of rip currents also increases.

When the pull becomes strong enough, swimming in the ocean is strongly discouraged.

If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel to the shoreline. This will help you escape the current.

In general, it's always best to swim with a life jacket or in the presence of others.

That's how your weather works!


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