‘Surfs up:’ Dangerous coastal conditions expected through Memorial Day weekend

Conditions on the coast were rough Friday and are expected to remain dangerous throughout Memorial Day weekend.

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Dianna and Francesco Zaffina are visiting from Connecticut on Friday and were hoping for a nice day at the beach.

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Instead, they were greeted by washing machine conditions.

“Surfs up!” Dianna said.

A group of visitors from Louisiana were also disappointed when they saw the conditions.

“A little sun, not as much clouds,” Marin Barras said.

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And although the surf is expected to calm down, a high risk of rip currents will persist through the day Saturday and will continue posing a moderate threat through Memorial Day.

“The surf is still going to be very dangerous for several days to come,” Captain of Ocean Rescue at Jacksonville Beach Rob Emahiser said.

Emahiser said just last weekend there were 18 swimmers rescued by lifeguards.

Due to the harsh conditions, they’ll have 12 lifeguard towers out through the weekend.

He recommends swimming near those lifeguards, listening to their warnings, keeping children out of the water, swimming in groups and if you do get caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel with the shore rather than fighting the current.

“If you don’t know all those things, if you don’t know what the longshore current is, if you don’t know how to use the surf then maybe you shouldn’t be in the water,” Emahiser said.

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Emahiser also recommended keeping a close eye on your children if you come to the beach this weekend, as it will likely be crowded.

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