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Lifeguards warn about rip currents for Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 6:29 PM, May 24, 2019

JUNO BEACH, Fla. — If you plan to go to the beach this weekend, you'll want to be extra careful.

Winds are making for some rough waves and a high risk for rip currents. Meteorologists are expecting to be this way through the rest of the weekend.

On Friday, West Palm Beach resident Connie Fiske held onto to her umbrella extra tight.

"I’ve got a death grip on my umbrella," said Fiske. "I have been known to lose them from time to time!"

Fiske is looking out for a rough weekend, with a high risk for rip currents through Memorial Day.

"Which is too bad, because it was beautiful a couple of days ago," Fiske said.

It’s not what Marietta Topi from Pennsylvania expected to find on her vacation.

"The water is not as beautiful as I wanted it to be," said Topi. "The waves are so huge and powerful, I feel like I’m going to drown in the water."

We saw it all on Friday, from guys struggling with their umbrella, to a girl calling it quits on a swim. Even the birds were struggling to fly and catch fish.

Robert Molleda with the National Weather Service in Miami said waves like are blamed for around seven deaths a year in South Florida.

"Rip currents are South Florida’s number one killer," said Molleda.

He added if you ever get caught in rip current, don’t panic.

"Don’t fight the current. Don’t swim directly against the current, it’s too strong," said Molleda.

Stay afloat until you’re free from the current and from there, swim parallel to shore until you can safely make your way back in.

"Please, swim within sight of a lifeguard," said Molleda.

Lifeguards say it’s best not to get in the water, but if you do, make sure you swim within sight of one of their towers.

"Honor the flags, honor the signs. Don’t go in if you don’t feel comfortable with it," said Fiske.