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Officials warn about dangerous rip currents this weekend from distant Beryl as it tracks towards Tex

July 6, 2024

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Since the start of summer, almost a dozen people have been killed due to rough seas and dangerous rip currents in the US. Most of those deaths have been in Florida, where out-of-state vacationers ventured into water that was too rough. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents lead to more than 80% of all water rescues. But during hurricane season, when the weather's hot and people are looking to cool off, distant tropical storms and hurricanes can increase your risk of drowning. Florida Storms’ digital meteorologist Leslie Hudson has more.

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If you find yourself caught in a rip current, by far the most important thing to do is to stay calm, and even try to relax. They can be scary, but rip currents will only pull you along, they won't pull you under the water. The biggest danger is tiring yourself out. Don't panic or thrash about. Don't bother trying to fight the current. You may be able to get out of the current by swimming with it parallel to the shore (or just floating or treading water) until it fades or circulates back to shore, and then you can swim to the beach. You also can try swimming with the current toward breaking waves, where you may be able to swim for shore.If you can't reach the shore or you're being pulled farther out to sea, or you're getting tired, draw attention to yourself by waving or shouting for help.

The second biggest danger from rip currents is from people trying to rescue someone else and drowning themselves. It's a perfectly natural impulse that may cause more harm than good. If you see someone in that situation:

Get a lifeguard.

If there isn't a lifeguard nearby, call 9-1-1.

Try to tell the victim to stay calm and swim along the shoreline.

If it's possible and you can do so safely, throw the victim something that floats.

Before you even go near the water, check the conditions.

At the beach, look for warning flags at beach approaches or lifeguard stations. Red flags mean dangerous rip current activity is expected. Double red flags mean the water is closed to the public.

Extremely dangerous rip currents will continue along the Gulf of Mexico beaches as Beryl moves into the Gulf of Mexico sending long period swells northwestward. Stay up to date using this beach forecast page: http://www.weather.gov/beach

LOCAL ALERTS
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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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