Nasty forecast for beachgoers this weekend: A low pressure system in the Gulf will lead to bouts of heavy rain, breezy winds, and a few storms this weekend along the Alabama Gulf Coast and the Florida panhandle.
The National Hurricane Center is watching this low pressure system. It could become a tropical or subtropical storm as we head through the rest of the week. You can see the latest NHC forecast here.
This system will also bring heavier surf and a high rip current risk this weekend. Be sure to heed local beach patrol’s instructions, and use extreme caution if you enter the water. Red flags along Alabama and Florida beaches signify that the water is dangerous for all levels of swimmers, so use common sense and keep yourself safe out there.
What is a rip current?: Here’s how NOAA describes it:
“Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes.
Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer.
Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by swimming straight back to shore—putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.
Lifeguards rescue tens of thousands of people from rip currents in the U.S. every year, but it is estimated that 100 people are killed by rip currents annually. If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle.”
Remember, if you get caught in a rip current, don’t swim against it! Yell for help, swim parallel to shore until you’re out of the current, and then swim back to land at an angle.
For more on rip currents, check out the video from NOAA below.
For even more information on rip currents, visit the National Weather Service’s rip current website.
Meteorologist Alex Puckett