Rip current risk at the beaches increases as tropical activity ramps up

Weather Education

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Tropical activity has increased over the past couple of days. Even if our area does not see the brunt of the wind and the rain, any storm in the Gulf of Mexico can churn up the waters, increasing our risk for rip currents.

Yellow flags are flying at Gulf Shores on Tuesday, but the National Weather Service’s forecast calls for a high risk Wednesday and Thursday.

Melvin Shepherd, Battalion Chief of Gulf Shores Fire and Emergency Services, says, “We are hoping that the conditions don’t get worse than they are right now. We did have a couple of rescues yesterday due to rip currents, so we advise the beach goers…when you get here for the day, take an opportunity… look at which flags are posted for the day. If you’re unsure of what they mean, we have signs posted along the boardwalk.” 

Shepherd also adds, “If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Try to face the beach, call and wave for help. Let the current take you out. Do not try to swim against the rip current. Once it takes you into deeper water, the currents will subside and then you can make your way left or right into breaking waves and back to the beach.” 

Also remember to maintain six feet of social distancing, keep groups small, and wear a mask in public spaces.

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