Rip currents expected at beaches over holiday weekend

Volusia County Beach Patrol urging beachgoers to swim in front of lifeguards

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer. Beachgoers are packing the beaches and lifeguards are urging them to swim near towers.

Whether they are swimming, running, or flying a kite, beachgoers said they're enjoying the beautiful weather and long holiday weekend.

"You couldn't ask for a better day," Londa Denton said.

But with a gorgeous day comes a warning. Volusia County Beach Patrol is flying a red flag above the lifeguard stands. Officials said they're expecting hazardous rip current conditions over the next few days.

"It's tough, it's real tough. It was like dragging me out," Alexus Alvarez said.

With the threat of a tropical system, beach patrol isn't taking any chances. Last year they rescued more than 500 people out of the water. That is why they have all hands on deck, with more than 100 lifeguards manning dozens of towers up and down the beach.

Volusia County Beach Safety said it had 12 water rescues with 25 victims as of Saturday afternoon.

Lifeguards brought an unconscious 25-year-old swimmer to shore at 3 p.m. Saturday and were able to revive him before he was hospitalized, officials said.

Volusia County Beach Safety said it had to close the beach to driving due to high tide, but was able to reopen as soon as the tide receded. Officials said the beach and adjacent roads were experiencing heavy traffic congestion.

Beach patrol is also urging everyone to swim in front of one of those stands.

"In case the current is a little rough, I don't want to get caught up out there and then not be near where somebody can rescue me," Denton said.

Beach patrol is expecting high tides and choppy surf. The red flag will fly all weekend.

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