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National Weather Service Promotes Awareness Of Rip Currents

With spring break around the corner, swimmers and surfers are being warned to watch out for rip currents.

The National Weather Service is highlighting rip currents as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Randy Lascody, senior forecaster in Melbourne, said if you’re caught in a rip you shouldn’t try to fight it.

“The biggest mistake people make is they try to swim straight back to the beach, but that’s right against the current and an Olympic swimmer can’t even swim straight back to shore against the strong current,” said Lascody.

Instead, try to swim parallel to the beach to escape the rip.

Lascody said central Florida averages about four rip current drownings a year.

He said long period swells, when the waves are more than 12 seconds apart, push more water onto the beach, and that can lead to dangerous rip currents.

“That extra blast of water onto the beach has to find a way to go back out,” said Lascody.

“A lot of it goes along shore, laterally along the beach, and eventually it will find a way out through a rip current.”

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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »