Forecasters Warn of Rip-Current Risk for Broward and Palm Beaches Through Weekend

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If you're planning to hit the beach for some day-after-Thanksgiving — or anytime this weekend, for that matter — you might need to stay out of the water. The National Weather Service has extended a coastal hazard warning for coastal areas that include a high risk of rip currents as well as flooding as high tide comes in. The risk of rip currents throughout the weekend is high, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to NOAA, the day will be filled with strong, gusty winds with speeds of up to 25 knots, which means small crafts should probably not go out into the open waters. Moreover, there is a high risk of rip currents along the coast.

"Entering the ocean is not advised," a statement from NOAA says.

The rip-current risk will remain in effect through Sunday, NOAA says. Minor coastal flooding is possible as well as the day's high tide rolls in, which could bring standing water along roadways, particularly in coastal Broward, such as A1A and other roadways by the beach. High tide is expected to arrive in the evening. 

Meanwhile in Palm Beach, wind gusts have been recorded at 30 mph at the Palm Beach International Airport, with sustained winds at 15 mph, with 21 mph gusts.

The winds are creating rip-current conditions throughout the Palm Beaches as well, with water levels rising in and around the area of Lake Worth Pier.

Small crafts are being advised to not go out into open waters.

Rip currents are a powerful current of water near the surface that moves directly away from the shore, cutting through waves. They're most common in low areas or breaks in a sandbar. As a riptide flows back into the ocean against the waves, it's common for a swimmer to get pushed in by it. Swimming directly against the flow of water becomes exhausting, and panic may set in. Rip-current rescues are often the most common for lifeguards.

If you're ever caught in a rip current, experts say you need to swim parallel to the shore until the rip current subsides. You can also float with the current until it subsides and you can swim back to shore, although this is not the best choice, since the current can carry you into deeper waters. Never swim toward the shore against a rip current.

Beaches with lifeguards on duty will usually close the waters to swimmers when a rip-current warning is issued. Beaches without a lifeguard should be avoided when a rip-current warning is in effect. 

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