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Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday- Marine Hazards

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday- Marine Hazards
Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday- Marine Hazards- Rip Currents
Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday- Marine Hazards- Rip Current Tips
Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday- Marine Hazards- Waterspout photo
Posted at 7:15 AM, Feb 06, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tuesday's 2024 Weather Awareness Week's topic is 'Marine Hazards'.

The two marine hazards most people in the Big Bend experience during a typical year are rip currents and waterspouts.

Rip Currents are the number 1 weather-related killer for the northern Gulf Coast and were responsible for 195 deaths between 2002 and 2022 for Florida and Alabama coastlines.

Rip currents can form when water in a narrow area pulls back out to sea leaving a narrow, intense lane of water moving very fast away from shore.

If you are ever caught in a rip current and feel yourself being pulled away from shore quickly, make sure you swim parallel to the shore line (horizontal to the beach) rather than trying to swim straight into the shore.

Water is moving fast in rip currents than even an Olympic swimmer can swim, so your best bet is to stay calm, swim out of the rip current by swimming alongside the shoreline instead of toward it, and finally swimming into shore after exiting the current.

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Waterspout are also common in the Gulf. Not all storms over water produce waterspouts, but waterspouts do come from storms over water. Waterspouts can also form within systems not containing a thunderstorm along the flat base of developing cumulus clouds. These are called 'fair weather' waterspouts and tend not to move very much.

/The best way to avoid a waterspout is to move 90-degrees from its apparent movement/direction. A waterspout that forms from a severe or strong storm that moves onshore will prompt a tornado warning and can do damage as it continues over land.