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The Florida Division of Emergency Management reminds all of Florida’s residents and visitors to use caution when visiting the beach this weekend, as an elevated risk of rip currents is expected along Florida’s Atlantic Coast beaches throughout the weekend, according to a Wednesday news release.
A high risk of rip currents is expected Thursday from Nassau through Miami-Dade County. The risk of rip currents may also be elevated along portions of the Gulf Coast and beachgoers should remain aware when visiting all of Florida’s beaches, the release states.
Onshore winds and rough surf conditions will increase the rip currents risk, according to Michelle Palmer, Division of Emergency Management deputy state meteorologist.
“Beachgoers should always remember to review the rip current outlook for their area, check beach warning flag signs before entering the water and swim within sight of a lifeguard,” Palmer said in a statement.
A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 2,00 feet to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 meters) in length, but are typically less than 30 feet (9 meters) wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 mph and are not always identifiable to the average beachgoer.
If caught in a rip current:
-Don’t panic. Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
-Never swim against the rip. Stay afloat and signal for help.
-Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle — away from the current — toward the shore.
-If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water.
-Draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don’t become a victim, too:
-Get help from a lifeguard or, if one is unavailable, have someone call 911.
-Throw the rip current victim something that floats — a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
-Yell instructions on how to escape.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Visit www.FloridaDisaster.org.
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