With the summer months fast approaching, the sandy shores may welcome many visitors across the southern states. This week, however, beachgoers should proceed to their favorite sands with caution, as life-threatening rip currents are looming on the Gulf Coast and its beaches. The threat has even prompted Orange Beach in Alabama to temporarily close their waters to the public.
The National Weather Service of Mobile, Alabama, issued a rip current statement early Thursday morning for Baldwin and Mobile coastal counties.
The risk advisory is currently set to continue through at least Saturday evening of May 16.
UTV44 reported this morning that lifeguards at Orange Beach who were performing training exercises experienced the strong currents. Orange Beach has since had double red flags raised, completely closing the waters to the public for the time being.
While a single red flag indicates a hazard of high surf and strong currents, double flags close not only a single spot, but all of the state's Gulf Coast waters.
The beach itself is still open, however, so you can continue your sunbathing in relative peace.
Double red flags are flying in @City_GulfShores today. Dangerous current and surf. Water is closed to the public.… https://t.co/X7F5WI4YbP— Colin Cahill (@Colin Cahill) 1589473122.0
The National Weather Service even predicted winds and gusts as high as 25 mph, which contribute to the dangerous water conditions.
Florida’s Gulf Coast counties were also warned of high winds and the potential for rip currents, including Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Escambia coastal regions.
🚩 🚩 Double red flags are flying in Orange Beach today - Thursday, May 14th. Double red means all Gulf waters are cl… https://t.co/hsKTRlTstz— City of Orange Beach (@City of Orange Beach) 1589468035.0
If you do ever find yourself caught in a rip current, remember not to fight it and relax to conserve energy.
Rip currents won’t pull you under but will pull you away from the shore — sometimes in long distances. When you feel the pull starting to relax, you can begin to swim parallel to the shore and eventually make your way back in.
Keep your beach day relaxing and avoid the water until the advisory has ended this weekend!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.