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Rip tides, coastal flooding expected along coastal areas | News

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Rip tides, coastal flooding expected along coastal areas
News, Weather
Rip tides, coastal flooding expected along coastal areas

Clearwater, Florida -- Clearwater residents are advised to use caution if they are going to the beach in the next couple of days.

Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate as a low pressure system moves toward Florida from the Gulf of Mexico. That system is expected to bring heavy rain, gusty winds and a potential for dangerous rip tides and coastal flooding.

City lifeguards are keeping an eye on the weather and will use their warning flag system as needed. With today being the last day of school in Pinellas County, officials are concerned about the number of students who may be flocking to the beach the rest of the week.

"We look to have our hands full if we get some foul weather," said Patrick Brafford, water safety supervisor for the City.  "Any time we have high winds, we will have higher surf, and that will bring up concerns on rip currents and beach erosions."

Lifeguards, who staff the beach 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will raise a yellow flag if swimmers need to be cautious about entering the water.

A red flag will be required if conditions are deemed a high hazard.

"People need to heed these warnings," Brafford said. "You have to go with the experts out here. When we put those warnings up, they are up for a reason."

Winds could be gusting to 24 mph tonight, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin. The number jumps to 32 mph Thursday - just below tropical storm strength.

The system in the Gulf has a 60 percent chance of becoming a named storm as it moves north.

Name or no name, it still brings the risk of 3 to 5 inches of rain which could cause flooding in lowland areas. And the southerly winds it brings may cause some coastal flooding in some areas.

Sand is available for Clearwater residents at Public Utilities,  1650 N.

Arcturas Ave. People need to bring their own sand bags, ties and a shovel.

There is a risk of severe weather tonight and into Thursday, said Robert Garcia, meteorologist with the weather service. Forecasters are keeping an eye on the system as a source for potential tornado outbreaks.


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