Florida

Squall lines and a tornado threat in Deep South could mean a troubling Florida weekend

How to prepare in case of a tornado

If your area is under a tornado warning, would you know what to do to stay safe? You may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Knowing what actions to take when a tornado threatens your area can keep you and your family safe. For more info on
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If your area is under a tornado warning, would you know what to do to stay safe? You may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Knowing what actions to take when a tornado threatens your area can keep you and your family safe. For more info on

As severe weather battered the mid-Mississippi Valley area and roared southwestward into Louisiana and coastal Texas on Thursday morning, Florida may get a strong line of thunderstorms on Friday.

Weather Channel meteorologist Ari Sarsalari warned that the damaging winds will “definitely shift east on Friday to parts of the East Coast, especially coastal parts of the Carolinas.” And that includes Florida as these storms are ahead of a cold front that is forecast to dip temperatures into the upper-50s in the Panhandle and other northern counties and upper-60s in South Florida.

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Damaging Deep South storms

The Weather Channel warns the squall line of thunderstorms currently moving through Southern Mississippi, south Alabama and parts of Louisiana could contain tornadoes and the twisters could occur even outside the ominous squall line. The warning should be taken seriously.

“The No. 1 threat is damaging wind and we have a couple more days of severe weather,” Sarsalari said.

Miami, Bradenton alerts

On Thursday, the National Weather Service in Miami issued a high rip current risk alert for South Florida, effective from 8 a.m. through the evening.

In Bradenton, the same rip current warning goes into effect late Thursday night into Sunday morning, along with a high surf advisory from 10 a.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The rip currents, strong bodies of water that flow rapidly away from the shore, are “life threatening,” the weather service said. These rip current warnings should be heeded along with more attention-grabbing alerts concerning severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes — especially if you are considering a quick swim before the weather deteriorates.

On Thursday morning, one person died in the surf off Miami Beach.

Tips on surviving rip currents

The weather service offered these familiar tips on days like these:

Heed lifeguards’ advice, pay attention to beach patrol flags and signs.

Swim near a lifeguard.

If you’re caught in a rip current, relax and float.

Don`t swim against the rip current.

Swim in a direction following the shoreline if you can.

If you can’t escape the current’s pull, face the shore and call or wave for help.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.


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