The Press of Atlantic City is reporting that as tropical storm Bertha develops offshore, beach-goers will face treacherous surf and increased rip current danger.

Beach in Atlantic City via EarthCam

After a woman drowned off the shore in Atlantic City on Monday night, officials are reminding travelers to be safe at the shore, especially when there's a high risk of rip currents.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a rip current is a strong, usually narrow surface current flowing outward from a shore that results from the return flow of waves and wind-driven water. Rip currents don't necessarily mean big waves. Jon Miller, a Stevens Institute of Technology professor who tracks rip currents, told the Press of Atlantic City that, "Bertha looks like the waves are small enough that people feel comfortable heading out."

But, the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey reported to that the waves will continue to grow. "Wave heights will build throughout the day, peaking in the open ocean at four to five feet from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning."

In order to stay safe, the NWS continued, "Always have a flotation device with you in the water. Swim only in life guarded areas."

Rip current
How rip currents form (NOAA)

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