High Rip Current Risk Precedes Ike on Florida’s Atlantic Beaches

September 8, 2008

The National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch Sept. 7 for the Florida Keys in advance of Hurricane Ike.

By Sunday afternoon, all Keys residents and visitors were under a mandatory evacuation order. Florida emergency officials urged residents to heed local warnings.

“If you live in the Florida Keys, today is evacuation day,” said Florida
Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate. “Hurricane Ike is a dangerous storm and now is the time to go to safe shelter on the mainland.”

Hurricane Ike is currently located more than 500 miles to the east-
southeast of Key West and moving westward around 13 miles per hour as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds near 135 miles per hour.

In addition to the evacuation order, the National Weather Service
posted a high-risk of rip currents along the east central and northeast Florida beaches. Residents should not venture into waters where deadly surf and rip currents maybe present, Fugate said.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, and can occur at any beach with breaking waves. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves.

Source: Florida Division of Emergency Management

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