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NEW VIDEO: Swell from Beryl expected to create dangerous rip currents in Franklin County

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Posted at 11:59 AM, Jul 05, 2024

ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. (WTXL) — As Beryl churns toward the southwestern Gulf of MexicoFriday, a long period of swell is expected along the Forgotten Coast. Dangerous rip currents are expected to develop Friday evening and last into the weekend. Watch the video above to see where the storm is going next.

The National Weather Service said, "if visiting the beach, please 
be familiar with the dangers of rip currents."

 Remember, single red flags mean life threatening rip currents are likely in the surf zone. Double red flags mean the water is closed to the public.

Neighborhood reporter, Maya Sargent is monitoring conditions on St. George Island Friday. Watch her Instagram Reel below.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

While Beryl may be more than 500 miles from the Forgotten Coast, here on St. George Island, it’s expected to create dangerous rip currents. We're diving into the danger this storm is creating all along our coast.

Current calm waters at St George Island are not expected to last long this weekend.

Beryl is set to bring a swell of waves to the Forgotten Coast.

That's forecast to create dangerous rip currents in places like St George Island.

Neighbors like said Corey Lee it's important to keep an eye on the conditions.

"If you're unfamiliar with water, if you've never been in the ocean, it's definitely not a swimming pool," said Lee.

The National Weather Service said rip currents can move at 1 to 2 feet per second. They've also been measured as fast as 8 feet per second.

I checked with First to Know Meteorologist Elizabeth Copeland about the concern this weekend.

Copeland said it's not the height of the waves that's the concern, but the length of time between each wave.

"The pull of 11 seconds of water out, off shore and the push back in, that can make those rip currents very dangerous," said Copeland.

A danger, George Joanos witnessed just weeks ago.

He is the co-owner of the Blue Parrot restaurant on St. George.

He watched his business partner save two lives from a rip current.

"He swam out with a life jacket, brought two young men, two 17-year-old kids in," said Joanos.

Joanos has put in a life ring in case it happens again.

"When it happens like that, and people are out there, it's almost like a washing machine," said Joanos. "You can't even swim in it!"

So what should you do if you do get stuck in a rip current?

"Swim parallel to shore," said Copeland. "You can't swim against a rip current, not even an Olympic swimmer can make it onshore."

It's important to pay attention to flags along the coast.

Lee recommends planning accordingly and paying attention.

"Just ask a local about it, the water conditions, especially if you don't know," said Lee.

If you plan on swimming in the Gulf, remember:
Single red flays mean life threatening rip currents are likely in the surf zone.
Double red flags mean the water is closed to the public.