Strong winds to generate rough surf, rip currents along eastern Florida beaches

Strong winds to generate rough surf, rip currents along eastern Florida beaches
·2 min read

As spring break kicks off for some colleges across the United States, those planning to enjoy some fun in the sun on the beaches of eastern Florida should be mindful of potentially treacherous ocean conditions.

High pressure built over the eastern U.S. this past weekend and produced an early preview of spring. This high has directed a stiff breeze toward the beaches along the east coast of Florida.

This breeze will lead to strong rip currents at these beaches, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker.

Gusty winds on the southern side of the area of high pressure will be situated over Florida through Monday.

Wind gusts up to 20-30 mph are possible along the central and southern coasts of Florida. This will help to stir up the waters, creating hazardous beach conditions.

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Strong winds and a long fetch over the Atlantic Ocean will create wave heights of 5-7 feet along the Florida coast and north-facing shores of far northern Bahamas.

Rough surf will also increase the risk for rip currents to form along the coastline from Jacksonville Beach to Miami Beach.

The rip currents could cause lifeguards and other local officials to close access to the ocean for a time.

Spring breakers and vacationers flocking to Florida's east coast could be forced to delay time spent in the water until later in the week.

"[If beaches are open] be sure to swim in lifeguard-covered areas and pay attention to any warnings," Walker said.

"If caught in a rip current, try to swim parallel to the coast to escape the rip current and then swim safely back to shore," he explained.

Winds will begin to relax across Florida by Tuesday and into the middle of the week as the area of high pressure sinks southward. Rough seas and the risk for rip currents will gradually subside as spring break festivities continue.

Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.