A rip current warning for South Florida that went into effect over the weekend has been extended through Wednesday night.
Stephen Konarik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade, said meteorologists made the decision after looking at weather projections.
Rip currents, which can pull a swimmer out to sea, occur when winds push water to shore, and the wind is fed back through channels on the ocean floor. Tiring swimmers fighting the current could face the risk of drowning.
“Your instincts may be to try to get to shore as quick as possible,” Konarik said. Instead, swimmers should always swim parallel to the shore.
He said it’s too early to tell whether rough waters will affect Memorial Day weekend weather. If the weather service sees a high risk of rip currents throughout the week, the advisory will be extended again.
Miami Beach Ocean Rescue increases the number of lifeguards on duty during hazardous weather. Lt. Dawson MacDonald said his team hasn’t seen a lot of swimmers in the water this week, mostly because of strong winds.
“When it’s that speed, the water looks a little messy and not as inviting,” he said.
MacDonald said eight people were rescued over the weekend. He said the number might be higher if beach lifeguards weren’t warning swimmers to stay out of rough waters.
“We try to make the preventions first,” he said.