sea grant

Environment
3:01 pm
Sun June 5, 2011

Rip currents threaten the lives of Great Lakes swimmers

Rip current mechanism: breakers cross sand bars off the shore, the water travels back to sea through the gap in the sand bars, creating a fast "rip" current
Backcomp.gif: National Weather Service, Wilmington, NC

This week, state lawmakers will discuss what can be done to better protect people from rip currents on the Great Lakes. It’s estimated that about 30 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year because of rip currents. 

Rip currents form when powerful winds or surges of water press along the shoreline.  The water must eventually flow back out.  When it does the rip current created can prove too strong for even the best swimmer to escape. 

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