As of March 3rd, NWS Tallahassee will be providing some service enhancements to our rip current program. You may have already noticed our new Rip Current Safety web page. That site has a variety of safety tips, newly created brochures, links to other NOAA and USLA safety information, and statistics. We encourage everyone to become familiar with rip current safety before they travel to the beach.
Here are the other changes that you will notice around the week of March 3rd.
1. New Format for the Surf Zone Forecast
The Surf Zone Forecast (SRF, view by clicking here) will now be split by county with more detailed forecast information available for each county. The same information that was in the previous version of the SRF will still be provided, but just in a new format with greater detail. For the day one period (today), the forecast will be presented in a tabular format to provide trend information in weather, temperatures, heat index, winds, surf height, and wave period (how frequently waves arrive). A "general outlook" section at the top will provide a summary of the overall forecast, as well as water temperatures and tides.
2. Second Scheduled SRF Issuance: 10-11 AM Eastern Time
The Surf Zone Forecast will be updated in the mid-to-late morning hours in order to receive information on the new beach flags for the day from the area beaches, as well as the latest observed conditions. The risk of rip currents will be updated to match the assessment by the beach agencies, with a consistent message.
As conditions warrant through the day, the SRF will be updated to reflect any changes.