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Maryland weather: Hurricane season is heating up and making for rough surf in Ocean City

Atlantic hurricane season has become active and is making for treacherous surf in Ocean City.

Erin, which was briefly a tropical storm Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, is forecast to pass well off the coast as a tropical depression Thursday. But it was already triggering warnings of dangerous rip currents.

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The National Weather Service was warning of a high rip current risk through at least Wednesday night for Ocean City and Assateague Island, and as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Rip currents are fast-moving channels of water that can pull swimmers away from shore. Anyone caught in a rip is advised to stay calm and not fight the current, and either float while waiting for help from a lifeguard or swim parallel to shore to escape the current.

Otherwise, pleasant beachgoing weather is forecast for the long Labor Day weekend in Ocean City. Sunshine and highs in the upper 70s are forecast from Thursday through at least Tuesday.

The threat of Hurricane Dorian is meanwhile looming, though current forecasts suggest it could turn westward and strike Florida as a major storm by Labor Day. The storm was battering the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as it gained hurricane strength Wednesday afternoon.

Hurricane forecasters say that would be unusual for a tropical cyclone in Dorian’s position at this time of year, which history suggests more typically move up the East Coast or turn out to sea.

Atlantic hurricane season typically peaks from late August to mid-September, and storms affecting Maryland have been known to hit as late as October.

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