JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Weather Service is advising swimmers, surfers and other beachgoers to exercise caution at local beaches because of heavy surf this weekend.
Along the beaches, expect an elevated risk for rip currents up to the moderate level due to increasing winds. Northeasterly winds drive more water onshore with the waves, and the water has to drain back out to the ocean, creating run outs which can create a rip current. Expect a moderate risk for rip currents along our shore Saturday and Sunday.
A runout, or rip current, is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Anyone caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.
Lifeguards have advice for anyone in the ocean in such conditions, even strong swimmers.
"If you ever do get stuck in a run-out, please swim parallel to shore; don't panic," Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Lt. Jason Caffey said. "That's the biggest thing. Once you start panicking, that's when you start going under; that's when you start getting tired."
Once you are away from the force of the rip current, begin to swim back to the beach.
"If you're not uncomfortable in the water, I'd stay out, and if you are going to go into the water, I definitely recommend swimming in front of a lifeguard," Caffey said. "The conditions, they're dangerous, and just be careful; look at our condition signs; look at the ocean."
Aside from the rip currents, expect dangerously windy conditions over local waters..
It'll be a breezy day with an onshore wind between 15 and 20 mph with gusts as high as 25 mph. High temperatures will range from the low to mid 70s.
Monday's temperatures will be even cooler starting at 50° and struggling to reach the low 70s for an afternoon high.