As Beaches Re-Open, Rip Currents Remain Deadly Threat

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Beaches in Alabama and Florida have re-opened, and that means summer vacations are back on! That also, unfortunately, means rip currents are once again claiming lives. 

Man Drowns After Being Caught In Rip Current Near Flora-Bama on 5/19/20

Even on nice and sunny days, rip currents can catch unsuspecting swimmers and claim lives. A moderate rip current risk will be in place through Wednesday, before the risk becomes low Thursday and Friday.

A moderate risk for rip currents is in place on Wednesday

Even on a low risk day, rip currents are possible, especially near piers and jetties. 

What is a rip current?:  

“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.”

National Weather Service
Diagram of a Rip Current

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.

What To Do If Caught In A Rip Current

For even more information on rip currents, visit the National Weather Service’s rip current website. and be sure to stay up to date with the rip current forecast for Alabama’s beaches.

Alex Puckett
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