Sub-Tropical Storm Beryn Brings Tropical Storm Warnings and a High Risk of Rip Currents Along Florida’s Atlantic Coast Beaches
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Division of Emergency Management cautions beachgoers as a high risk of rip currents is expected along the northeast Florida coast from Nassau through Flagler counties. A moderate risk of rip currents is also expected along the east central Florida coast from Volusia through Martin counties. Conditions are expected to be present today through Monday due to Sub-Tropical Storm Beryl. It is important to remember that when red flags are flying, beachgoers should remain alert while visiting Florida’s beaches.
“In addition to the potential for dangerous rip currents, high waves up to four to six feet could cause moderate beach erosion and minor coastal flooding,” said State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. “Beachgoers should remember to review the rip current outlook for their area, check the warning flag signs before entering the water and swim within sight of a lifeguard.”
As of 5 p.m. EDT, Sub-Tropical Storm Beryl was located about 315 miles east-northeast of Jacksonville, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from the Volusia and Brevard County line through South Carolina. The National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Florida has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Baker, Bradford, Clay, Union, and Putnam Counties. Beryl is projected to move west-southwest into Northeast Florida or southern Georgia Sunday night through Monday night, briefly stalling, then turning northeast towards South Carolina ahead of an approaching cold front. As it moves inland, it is expected to decrease in intensity into a tropical or sub-tropical depression.
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 (nine meters) wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 miles per hour (eight kilometers per hour) and are not always identifiable to the average beachgoer.
When at the beach:
Before you leave for the beach, check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions. Many offices issue a Surf Zone Forecast.
Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags.
Different beaches may use different colors but a commonly used series include:
Ø Double Red: Beach is closed to the public
Ø Single Red: high hazard, e.g., strong surf or currents
Ø Yellow: medium hazard
Ø Green: Calm conditions although caution is still necessary
Ø Purple: Flown with either Red or Yellow: Dangerous marine life
Learn how to swim in the surf. It’s not the same as swimming in a pool or lake. Also, never swim alone.
Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.
Pay especially close attention to children and persons who are elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
Be cautious. Always assume rip currents are present even if you don’t see them.
If caught in a rip current:
DON’T PANIC. The rip won’t pull you under the water, it will just carry you seaward. Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
NEVER swim against the rip. Stay afloat, go with the flow 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–towards shore.
Think of a rip current like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. Rip current strength eventually subsides offshore. When it does, swim toward shore.
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.
If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
Throw the rip current victim something that floats–a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
Yell instructions on how to escape.
Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.
Follow safe boating practices:
Have a VHF Marine Band Radio and NOAA Weather Radio on board.
Check the marine forecast well ahead of time.
Know the limitations of your boat. If small craft advisories or gale warnings are issued, you should postpone travel.
Be sure everyone aboard is wearing a life jacket.
File a float plan at your marina.
Thunderstorms and weather-related hazards form quickly. Never let these storms cut off your route back to land.
Beachgoers who want to learn more about rip currents can visit www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov. Boaters can go to www.srh.noaa.gov/wml to check the current marine conditions and updated forecasts. For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN! visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/FLSERT and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.
CONTACT: Jessica Sims, (850) 487-2430, Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org