A large, slow-moving storm system swirling in the western Atlantic will send huge waves toward the Florida beaches on Saturday and Sunday. This is the same storm system that recently dumped more than 2 feet of snow across the Northeast.
The waves will arrive during the morning hours on Saturday, and then build to heights as great as 10-15 feet on Saturday afternoon into Sunday night. The waves will not begin to subside until Monday.
Locations most at risk include Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach and Vero Beach, to name a few.
Waves of this size and magnitude contain a tremendous amount of energy. The dangerous breaking surf can easily knock you down and make you susceptible to strong rip currents.
You can also be swept off jetties and flung into tumultuous, turbulent water where even experienced swimmers can drown.
These waves will also transport very chilly water into the region from cooler regions farther north. Hypothermia can set in quickly for those without protection.
If you will be at the beaches on the Atlantic coast of Florida for spring break or vacation, it is important to know and understand the dangers of high surf and rip currents.
According to the National Weather Service, some clues that a rip current might be present include the observation of:
•A channel of churning, choppy water.
•A difference in water color.
•A line of foam, seaweed or debris moving out to sea.
•A break or disruption in the incoming wave pattern.
If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm. Dot not fight the current. Swim in a direction parallel to, or following the shoreline.
Your best course of action will be to avoid the water completely, but if you will be doing any swimming, make sure a lifeguard is present.