Miami-Dade County

Rip current alert: Enjoy the beach on Memorial Day — but caution when wet

FLOCKING TO THE BEACHES: A group of tourist from Philadelphia cross Collins Avenue in Miami Beach on Thursday, May 21, 2015, as the area prepared for the busy Memorial Day weekend.
FLOCKING TO THE BEACHES: A group of tourist from Philadelphia cross Collins Avenue in Miami Beach on Thursday, May 21, 2015, as the area prepared for the busy Memorial Day weekend. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In terms of warnings, this isn’t exactly akin to Amity’s infamous “Get out of the water!” cries when “Bruce,” the great white shark, threatened beach-goers in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws exactly 40 Memorial Days ago.

But the masses converging on South Florida beaches in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Key Biscayne this Memorial Day might want to slather on the sunscreen, curl up on beach towels or enjoy a game of toss along the shore.

Going in the water might not be the best of ideas.

“We’re looking at the high risk for rip currents continuing through Tuesday,” said David Ross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade. “That is probably the major threat that can affect the largest number of people right now along the Atlantic beaches.”

Miami Beach Ocean Rescue reported 23 rescues from Sunday's choppy waters. A total of 42 people were safely pulled from the water.

Blame it on gusty winds coming from the east.

Rip currents, narrow bands of fast-moving water, are strongest near the surface and move directly away from the shore, slicing through breaking waves and can catch bathers unaware and sweep them along.

Think of the current as a treadmill and, if caught in one, don’t panic and don’t try to swim to shore against the pull. To “step off” the watery treadmill, swim parallel to the shore until you exit the rip current and then head back to shore with the breaking waves.

As for the other beach bother, thunderstorms will not be much of a threat through the Monday holiday and morning commute Tuesday.

After 2 p.m. Monday, the chance for thunderstorms is forecast at 30 percent.

For the Tuesday morning back-to-work commute, expect clear skies, breezy conditions with east winds gusting up to 24 miles per hour. Not much rain is expected.

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