Dangerous rip currents churning up Jacksonville beaches

Swells generated by Subtropical Storm Leslie reaching North Florida beaches

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Subtropical Storm Leslie is causing rip currents along the northeast Florida coast this week, even though the system is far away. 

Lifeguards are warning swimmers to be extra careful just a day after a  man drowned in the water off Little Talbot Island.

A woman who survived a rip current said she knows how dangerous they can be.

"It was scary for me. I lived in Hawaii at the time, and it just took me under. Thank God, I had a boogie board that was attached to my ankle, and that's what popped me back up once I got out of it," said beachgoer Laura Fallbusch.

She said because of her experience, she always watches for the flags the lifeguards fly when she's at the beach.

"I just come to the beach to get away, but I do notice them when I get here because I have two small children and have to make sure they are safe and secure. If it's a red flag, we don't go in. We just kind of (go in) feet first and that's it," Fallbusch said.

Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers far away from the beach. 

They can move up to 8 feet per second, faster than an Olympic swimmer.

Experts say if you get caught in a rip current, do not try swimming against it. 

That won't get you out but will tire you out.

Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip current and can safely swim back to shore.

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