Public safety officials urge beachgoers to swim with caution this week because of an elevated risk of rip currents.
Strong winds over the Gulf of Mexico are leading to the increased risk, expected to last through Wednesday. The state Division of Emergency Management says visitors and residents should pay attention to warning flags and signs posted at beaches and be vigilant while in the water.
If caught in a current, you should let it carry you until it slackens, then swim to shore. Drowning can occur when people panic, tire out fighting the current and can't stay afloat.
To check your local rip current outlook, visit www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.