Labor Day weekend beachgoers warned about rough waters created by Idalia

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Friday, September 1, 2023
Idalia creates rough waters at NC beaches, swimmers warned
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Swimmers warned about the rough waters and rip tides created by Tropical Storm Idalia.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- While most people were sleeping, Tropical Storm Idalia moved across North Carolina dumping plenty of rain from the coast to the Triangle.

As of 5:00 p.m., the center of the storm is located near Cape Lookout and is having an impact on the Outer Banks.

As Idalia pushes away from North Carolina, weather conditions will improve significantly. Click here for the latest weather forecast.

The weather will be great for beach trip this the holiday weekend, however, swimmers are being warned about the rough waters created by Idalia.

The Coast

Our beaches felt the brunt of Idalia. Heavy winds and rains battered the coastline throughout the night. There have been no reports of fatalities or widespread property damage.

At Wrightsville Beach, Idalia churned up the surf for several hours but caused only minimal damage. The focus in the area now turns to how vacationers and locals will make up for the lost time.

Some people have been seen jumping back into the water, trying to catch some waves on the back end of Idalia. Ocean Rescue Captain Sam Proffitt said that's not a safe decision, because lifeguards are not on duty Thursday and rip current are likely.

"We will be fully staffed...Labor Day weekend. If you do come here to Wrightsville, make sure you swim near a lifeguard stand (and) make sure the lifeguard stand is flying a flag," Proffitt said. "Take note of it. It will either be a red or yellow flag. If it's red don't go into the water."

The Triangle

Raleigh and areas south and east are under a flood watch this morning. Rain was fairly light overnight with less than an inch of rain registering in the Raleigh area. Wind gusts were fairly light.

The Sandhills

Areas of the Sandhills also saw plenty of rain. Cumberland, Hoke and Sampson counties were under a tropical storm warning in the morning, but all escaped without widespread damage.

Farther south, flooding happened in Columbus County. Whiteville, specifically, saw some significant flooding in the downtown area.

Emergency crews said the flooding damaged around 40 businesses.

"I could not walk. I had one of the emergency guys carry me down there, and it's about -- not quite a foot inside the salon there, but I did get in and it's just running right through," First Class Salon & Nails Owner Kareesa Pridgen said.

Director of Emergency Services Hal Lowder said this area flood often. He said new ordinances keep people from building more things in the flood plain, but that's already too late for those already here.

"We're playing a lot of catch up from the sins of our forefathers, because we just didn't know at the time," he said.

City officials said the area saw considerable flooding during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence. The business owners are now left to clean up the latest flood problem.

"I started crying. I've been there three years, but I had no idea it was going to be this bad. I worked till about 7 last night and wasn't really prepared for a flood like this," Pridgen said.

The storm knocked out power to more than 20,000 people in North Carolina, but crews have brought back many of those outages already.