3 drown, 1 missing in rough surf along Florida beaches

The Weather Authority

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OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. (AP)– Authorities say tourists from Georgia and Ohio and a third person who hasn’t been identified drowned in separate incidents along Florida’s Panhandle beaches.

In a news release, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s officials said 36-year-old Ulysses Williams of Columbus, Georgia, was pulled to shore Tuesday evening near Fort Walton Beach and declared dead a short time later.

In nearby Miramar Beach, rescue crews were called to help four distressed swimmers. Two made it safely to shore, another died shortly after being pulled from the water and crews are still searching for the fourth swimmer.

On Tuesday afternoon, 52-year-old Theresa Roark of Ohio was found floating face-down in the water off of Shell Island, near Panama City Beach.

Various beach flags and their meanings (Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection)
Various beach flags and their meanings (Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection)

Red flags indicating rough surf have been flying along the beaches.

If you’re headed to the beach soon, familiarize yourself with what each flag color means about the conditions currently happening in the water.

A double red flag indicates the water is closed to the public.

The National Weather Service Office in Mobile is developing a beach forecast page with information about the threat of rip currents along the Alabama and Florida Panhandle coasts.

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