Deadly Rip Currents Likely
Strengthening onshore winds will combine with increasing ocean swells from newly upgraded Hurricane Hanna to keep a high risk of rip currents in place all along Florida's Atlantic coast this week. Building wave heights could produce minor to moderate coastal flooding and beach erosion during times of high tide along the east coast this week. Rough surf and large waves generated by Hurricane Gustav will also keep a high risk of rip currents in place for Florida's Gulf of Mexico beaches. A rip current is a channel of water that rapidly flows away from the shoreline. By heeding the advice of local officials and lifeguards, residents and visitors to Florida's beaches can reduce their chances of injury or loss of life.
"Hurricanes produce hazardous marine and boating conditions, including rip currents, well away from the storm's eye. These conditions can injure or drown those who enter the surf zone. We urge all beachgoers and mariners to heed warnings from local authorities and lifeguards" said Division of Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate.
Marine interests should exercise caution when venturing from port and beachgoers should avoid entering the surf along the Atlantic and Gulf beaches this week. Emergency Managers urge all residents and visitors to understand their limitations, be aware of rip currents, and learn how to get out of them safely.
Some important safety tips to keep in mind if you witness a person stranded in the water:
Get help from a lifeguard.
If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
Throw the rip current victim something that floats--a lifejacket, a cooler, or an inflatable ball.
Yell instructions on how to escape. The best method is to swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
Â Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.
"If red flag warnings are posted, play it safe and stay out of the water," added Director Fugate.
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