Rip current risk Thursday closes Horry County beaches to swimmers

Horry County Beaches  closed to swimming until further notice.
Horry County Beaches closed to swimming until further notice.

Officials with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. issued a rip current advisoryThursday for several coastal Carolina areas, including Horry and Georgetown counties.

Due to the advisory, Horry County shut down beaches to swimming late Thursday morning, according to a release from Raul Denis, the public information officer for Horry County Police Department.

The release said that beaches in Horry County are closed to swimmers until further notice. Anyone failing to obey directons of beach personnel may be subject to arrest and a fine of $225, according to the release.

The best time for rip tides to form is an hour or two, before or after low tide, which will be at about 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Rip currents could be life-threatening the in the surf zone, according to weather service officials.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water, flowing away quickly from the shore, and they usually happen in low spots or breaks in sandbars.

Weather service officials advise swimmers to yell for help and stay calm while waiting for assistance. Officials warn swimmers should not exhaust themselves if they become caught in a rip current.

Contact ELIZABETH TOWNSEND at 626-0217 or on Twitter @TSN_etownsend.

Beach flag rating system

Two red flags | No water activity allowed

One red flag | Public encouraged to stay out of the ocean

Yellow flag | Public encouraged to swim only in front of lifeguard towers

Green flag | Public encouraged to swim in front of lifeguard towers

Purple flag | man-o-war, jellyfish, blue buttons, sea nettles possible. Swim with caution.