CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Six people were rescued from treacherous rip currents Thursday and the National Hurricane Center raised a tropical storm watch for much of the South Carolina coast as Hurricane Irene approached.
Those on the coast were warned about rip currents, beach erosion and strong winds from the storm. The hurricane is not expected to make a direct hit on South Carolina, instead passing north and east toward a forecast landing near North Carolina's Outer Banks during the day Saturday.
But the Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm watch from Edisto Beach, southwest of Charleston, northeast along the coast to Surf City, N.C.
Lt. Jack Stewart of the Horry County Police said six people were rescued from rip currents between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach on the state's north coast. Rip currents are strong currents of water that flow out to sea from the shore.
Following the rescues the beaches at the northern end of the county were closed.