Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials remind residents and visitors to stay alert and use caution at the beach, as an elevated risk of rip currents is expected along much of Florida’s Gulf Coast. A high risk of rip currents is expected in the Panhandle from Escambia through Gulf County.
The National Weather Service has also issued a Gale Warning for coastal waters along the Panhandle and Big Bend through late this evening, and Northeast Florida from 3 p.m. through Friday. Strong winds gusts of up to 54 miles per hour, and large waves of 8 to 12 feet will be possible offshore in the warning areas. Small craft advisories are also in effect after 1PM for Gulf Coast waters along the Peninsula, and off the East Central Florida Coast.
“Strong onshore winds and waves will bring a high risk of rip currents and less than ideal boating conditions to much of Florida’s coast today,” said FDEM Meteorologist Brad Schaaf. “Beachgoers and boaters should be sure to check forecasts and follow necessary safety precautions while visiting the coast.”
It is important to remember that when red flags are flying, beachgoers should remain alert while visiting Florida’s beaches. A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean.