Tropical Storm Gordon brings higher risk for rip currents

Red flag conditions Monday at Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tropical Storm Gordon put a damper on Labor Day plans for some and also brought hazardous ocean conditions at the beaches.

The National Hurricane Center said Gordon has the potential of becoming a Category 1 storm as it makes landfall. It continued to grow stronger Monday reaching wind speeds of 50 mph, said News4Jax Meteorologist Mark Collins.

"We have seen slightly higher waves around two to three feet. That is causing moderate rip currents on our beaches," Collins said.

TRACK THE STORM: Interactive map of tropics
RELATED: Gordon whips South Florida with high winds

While beaches closer to the eye of TS Gordon are closed, the risk of rip currents in Northeast Florida was also a concern.

Lt. Max Ervanian, the prevention and training officer with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue, said those currents are only part of what prompted red flag conditions.

"The swell length and swell period is really not what is dangerous," Ervanian said. "You have the constant chop, the constant rough waters ... that's what we are looking at."

Flag ColorMeaning
Double RedNo Entry
PurpleDangerous Marine Life

Ervanian said there were 35 lifeguards and six officers patrolling Jacksonville Beach. They're doing all they can to warn people at the beach of the conditions.

"If they (lifeguards) feel that they need to prevent the bathers from going to a certain area that could be more dangerous than another area in the vicinity, they will whistle at the beachgoers," Ervanian said. "We are putting up more signage -- some more flags to alert bathers and beachgoers around that area."

Lifeguards warn that just because you don't see red flags up doesn't mean conditions are safe.

As of Monday evening, there were no reported rescue calls over Labor Day.

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