Weekend at the beach includes the risk of rip currents

As residents and visitors return to St Johns County beaches this weekend, just because Historic City News subscribers will enjoy reduced coronavirus restrictions, the water’s edge still poses serious dangers.

The National Weather Service has issued rough sea advisory for nearly the entire Atlantic coast. With easterly wind gusts expected up to 30 mph and seas expected to build up to 7 -10 feet by Saturday, the NWS has issued a rip current advisory.

“Elevated risk continues at area beaches [through] Sunday,” Friday’s NWS statement said. “Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water.”

General Manager David Mariotti at One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach said the 193-room eight-story oceanfront hotel is booked for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

“Everyone is desperate to get their toes in the sand,” Mariotti said.

Large surf generates rip currents by pushing large volumes of water on shore and when that water retreats into the ocean, sometimes there’s a cut in a sand bar and that creates a stream of water heading outward. The result can carry swimmers into deep water quickly.

St Johns County Emergency Management told local reporters Friday, a trough of low pressure located over the Straits of Florida continues to produce disorganized shower activity and gusty winds across the Florida Keys, portions of southeast Florida, and the northwestern Bahamas. 

Gradual development of this system is expected, and it will likely become a tropical or subtropical storm on Saturday when it is located near the northwestern Bahamas. Later in the weekend and early next week, the system is expected to move generally northeastward over the western Atlantic.

Formation chance through 48 hours…high…80 percent.

Formation chance through 5 days…high…80 percent.

Potential Local Impacts

  • High rip current risk through Saturday –
  • Wind gusts up to 30 mph at the beaches this afternoon through Saturday
  • Building surf heights, with breakers of 5-6 ft expected by Saturday afternoon
  • Elevated Risk continues at area beaches on Sunday
  • Small Craft Advisory Offshore through Saturday Night –
  • Seas build to 6-9 feet beyond 25 miles offshore today and 7-10 feet Saturday