NOUS42 KMLB 011204
PNSMLB
FLZ041-044>047-053-054-058-059-064-141-144-147-020000-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
704 AM EST TUE FEB 1 2011

...FEBRUARY 1 IS MARINE HAZARDS AND RIP CURRENT AWARENESS DAY...

BOATING ACCIDENTS RESULT IN AN AVERAGE OF 14 DEATHS AND 93 INJURIES
EACH YEAR IN THE TEN COUNTIES COMPRISING EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.  MOST
OF THESE DEATHS AND INJURIES OCCUR DUE TO CARELESSNESS...
RECKLESSNESS OR NAVIGATIONAL RULES VIOLATIONS...BUT BOATERS ARE ALSO
VULNERABLE TO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS THAT CAN OCCUR AT ANY TIME
OF THE YEAR.  MOST MARINERS CHECK WIND AND SEA FORECASTS BEFORE
LEAVING SHORE.  HOWEVER...WHILE OUT ON THE WATER MANY DO NOT REALIZE
THAT STRONG WIND GUSTS CAN FLOW OUT WELL AHEAD OF THE HEAVY RAIN AND
LIGHTNING FROM A THUNDERSTORM. THESE STRONG WIND GUSTS HAVE RESULTED
IN CAPSIZED BOATS AND DROWNINGS IN RECENT YEARS.

EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA HAD FOUR WEATHER-RELATED DEATHS IN 2010...ALL IN
THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT.  A BOAT WAS CAPSIZED IN ST LUCIE INLET
DURING HIGH SURF CONDITIONS...WHICH RESULTED IN ONE DEATH.   THERE
WERE TWO DROWNINGS CAUSED BY RIP CURRENTS AND ONE ROUGH SURF
FATALITY. THESE STATISTICS POINT OUT THE HIGH VULNERABILITY OF THOSE
IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT...AND THE NEED TO KEEP INFORMED OF WEATHER
HAZARDS.

THEREFORE...STAY AWARE OF WEATHER THREATS TO REMAIN SAFE WHILE
ENJOYING A DAY OUT ON THE WATER. NOAA WEATHER RADIO IS AN EXCELLENT
SOURCE OF CONTINUOUS WEATHER INFORMATION...INCLUDING WARNINGS AND
ADVISORIES FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING AND DANGEROUS WEATHER CONDITIONS.

RIP CURRENTS...SOMETIMES ERRONEOUSLY REFERRED TO AS RIP TIDES OR
UNDERTOWS...OCCUR NATURALLY AND AFFECT MOST OF THE SURF BEACHES
ALONG THE EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST. THESE CURRENTS CAN POSE A HIGH
THREAT TO UNSUSPECTING BEACHGOERS. RIP CURRENTS CAN BE REFERRED TO
AS THE FAIR WEATHER KILLER BECAUSE THEY OFTEN OCCUR WHEN THE WEATHER
IS NICE. DURING THE PAST 20 YEARS...RIP CURRENTS HAVE CLAIMED MORE
LIVES IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA THAN ANY OTHER WEATHER RELATED HAZARD
INCLUDING HURRICANES...TORNADOES AND LIGHTNING.

A RIP CURRENT IS A STRONG CHANNEL OF WATER FLOWING OUT PAST THE SURF
ZONE THAT CAN PULL EVEN THE STRONGEST SWIMMER INTO DEEPER WATER
BEYOND THE SAND BAR. MOST DEATHS OCCUR WHEN PEOPLE CAUGHT IN A RIP
CURRENT TRY TO SWIM TOWARD SHORE DIRECTLY AGAINST THE
CURRENT...BECOME TOTALLY EXHAUSTED AND DROWN.  SOMETIMES...WOULD BE
RESCUERS ALSO DROWN. BY UNDERSTANDING HOW A RIP CURRENT
WORKS...PEOPLE CAN ESCAPE THIS FATE.

RIP CURRENTS ARE NORMALLY ONLY ABOUT 10 TO 30 YARDS WIDE...AND THE
BEST ESCAPE IS TO WADE OR SWIM SIDEWAYS ACROSS THE CURRENT...
PARALLEL TO SHORE. THE RIP CURRENT WEAKENS RAPIDLY ONLY A RELATIVELY
SHORT DISTANCE SEAWARD OF THE SAND BAR...AND THUS ANOTHER MEANS OF
ESCAPE FOR A STRONGER SWIMMER IS TO FLOAT WITH THE CURRENT OUT
BEYOND THE BREAKERS...THEN SWIM SHOREWARD AT AN ANGLE AWAY FROM THE
CURRENT.

THE BEST SAFETY ADVICE IS TO ALWAYS SWIM AT GUARDED BEACHES AND SEEK
THE ADVICE OF THE BEACH PATROL BEFORE ENTERING THE SURF. YOUR
CHANCES OF DROWNING ARE VERY LOW WHEN SWIMMING WITHIN SIGHT OF A
LIFEGUARD. NEVER SWIM ALONE. DO NOT ENTER THE OCEAN IF YOU ARE A
WEAK SWIMMER. THE VAST MAJORITY OF RIP CURRENT VICTIMS ARE EITHER
TOURISTS...OR FLORIDIANS WHO LIVE AWAY FROM THE COAST...AND ARE NOT
INFORMED ABOUT OCEAN HAZARDS. THOSE PLAYING HOST TO VISITORS SHOULD
MAKE SURE THEY ARE AWARE OF THE THREATS THAT EXIST IN THE SURF ZONE.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MELBOURNE ISSUES DAILY HAZARDOUS
WEATHER OUTLOOKS WHICH INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT STRONG
THUNDERSTORMS...AS WELL AS DANGEROUS WIND AND WAVE CONDITIONS. THE
RIP CURRENT THREAT IS ALSO FORECAST ON A SCALE RANGING FROM LOW TO
MODERATE TO HIGH. THIS INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED VIA NOAA WEATHER
RADIO...TELEVISION AND RADIO...OR BY VISITING THE MELBOURNE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE WEBSITE AT WEATHER.GOV/MELBOURNE AND CLICKING ON THE
HAZARDS IMAGE.

$$

LASCODY


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.