Town of Palm Beach News

High Risk for Rip Currents This Weekend

Due to east winds gusting to more than 25 mph, the National Weather Service is warning of a high risk of rip currents during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.

An area of high pressure is setting up over the southeast U.S. and is whipping ip an easterly flow. When it comes to creating strong channels that pull swimmers out to see, easterly winds are the most dangerous patterns.

With temperature in the upper 80s in Palm Beach County’s costal towns, and in increase in beach goers taking advantage of the holiday weekend, concern about the rip current threat is increasing.

“Rip currents are the number one weather-related killer in Florida,” said Robert Molleda, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “We will have a combination of a lot of people at the beach, nice weather, and a high risk of rip currents.”

High Risk for Rip Currents This Weekend

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Events Database, 330 people in the past 20 years have drowned after being caught in rip currents off Florida’s beaches.

25 of those deaths were in Palm Beach County.

Stories from the storm events database include weather reports similar to the pattern Florida is in now—a high pressure system whose clockwise winds pump haphazard waves ashore.

Often tourists who are unfamiliar with the ocean or not strong swimmers are the ones who get caught in rip currents.

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In April 2018, 46-year-old Nader Khalil, visiting from Ohio, went into the water at Jupiter beach to save his struggling daughter from a rip current. She lived, but Khalil drowned.

If you do get caught in a rip current, do not try to paddle directly back to shore. Instead, swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. Once you are free, swim at an angle away from the current and toward the shore.

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