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South Florida beachgoers beware of rip currents

South Florida beachgoers may want to avoid the water due to potentially dangerous rip currents.

State emergency management officials are urging beachgoers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to beware of the strong rip currents which are expected to continue through Sunday.

There are red warning flags flying at South Florida beaches to warn swimmers of the potential danger. Lifeguards are also flying the purple warning flag to warn beachgoers about dangerous marine life such as jellyfish.

A rip current is a narrow powerful current which runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 miles per hour or faster.

Beach goers are urged, whenever possible, to swim at a lifeguard-protected beach. If unsure of what the flags mean, ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. Also stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.

A moderate risk of rip currents is also expected for the remainder of the Florida East Coast from Nassau County south through Martin County.

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