ORLANDO, Fla. – Though far away from Florida, Hurricane Fiona is creating rip current risk along the Central Florida coast.
Fiona, a Category 4 hurricane, on Thursday was hundreds of miles southwest of Bermuda with winds up to 130 mph.
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There will be a high rip current risk through Saturday morning off Florida beaches in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, Saint Lucie and Martin counties, according to weather officials.
Rip currents are shallow, localized currents that quickly flow away from the shoreline toward the ocean. They claim about 100 lives annually across the U.S. Beachgoers assume if the water is calm, the threat of rip currents is less. That is not true. Even when there is little wave activity, rip currents can form in different sizes and speeds.
How to escape rip currents
If you’re caught in a rip current, do not panic and try to swim against the current. You’ll want to turn on your back and float for a few seconds, while trying to alert people on the beach.
Then, start swimming parallel to the coastline until you feel the pull relax. Once you’re able to swim to shore, you’ll want to swim at an angle to not swim against the current.
One of the first things beachgoers should do when arriving at the beach is to look for the colored beach flag, located near lifeguard towers. The flags are posted to identify different tide and surf conditions in that area. This nationwide warning flag system was adopted by the International Lifesaving Federation.
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