Risk of rip currents rises on Atlantic coast

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 6:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 6:47 p.m.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is warning beachgoers along Florida's Atlantic coast to be aware of an elevated risk of rip currents through the weekend.

The risk of rip currents may also be elevated along portions of the Gulf Coast, officials said Wednesday.

"Onshore winds and rough surf conditions will bring an increased risk of rip currents to beaches on the Atlantic Coast, which will likely persist through the upcoming weekend," said Florida Division of Emergency Management deputy state meteorologist Michelle Palmer. "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."

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 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.

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