MIAMI (CBS4) – Now that some really nice weather has settled in you may thinking about hitting the beach this weekend. If you do go, don’t plan on getting in the water.
State emergency management officials said because of lingering waves and onshore winds associated with Tropical Storm Sean there is a high risk of strong and frequent rip currents through Saturday.
“Beachgoers and surfers along the entire Florida East coast should be very cautious as strong onshore winds in combination with lingering ocean swells from distant Tropical Storm Sean may produce dangerous surf conditions for much of this weekend,” state meteorologist Amy Godsey said.
A rip current is a narrow powerful current which runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 miles per hour or faster.
Beach goers are urged, whenever possible, to swim at a lifeguard-protected beach. If unsure of what the warning flags mean, ask a lifeguard about the conditions before going in the water. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are attributed to rip currents.
Also stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.