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NWS Rip Current Safety Program

National Weather Service Offices
Issuing Surf Zone Forecasts

Boston, MA
Miami, FL

Melbourne, FL
Jacksonville, FL
Charleston, SC
Wilmington, NC
Morehead City/Newport, NC
Upton, (NYC) NY
Wakefield (Norfolk), VA
Philadelphia/New Jersey

Gulf Coast
Tallahassee, FL
Tampa, FL
Mobile, AL
Brownsville, TX

Pacific Coast
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Honolulu, HI

Not all coastal and Great Lakes NWS Forecast Offices provide a Surf Zone Forecast; however, all NWS offices forecasting moderate or high risk of rip currents include this information in the Day 1 portion of their Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO).

Rip Current Outlooks

Surf Zone Forecasts will contain Rip Current Outlooks. Rip Current Outlooks use the following, three-tiered set of qualifiers:

  • Low Risk of rip currents. Wind and/or wave conditions are not expected to support the development of rip currents; however, rip currents can sometimes occur, especially in the vicinity of groins, jetties, and piers. Know how to swim and heed the advice of lifeguards.
  • Moderate Risk of rip currents. Wind and/or wave conditions support stronger or more frequent rip currents. Only experienced surf swimmers should enter the water.
  • High Risk of rip currents. Wind and/or wave conditions support dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the surf.

When you arrive at the beach, speak with on-duty lifeguards about rip currents and all other water conditions expected for the day.

NOAA, National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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Last Updated: June 25, 2007