Long-period swells from the north are taking aim at Palm Beach County’s beaches, causing a high risk of rip currents possibly through the weekend.
The National Weather Services issued an alert this morning about the risk, which is targeting Palm Beach County’s shores over Broward and Miami-Dade counties at this point. While the alert is only through this evening, it will likely be extended, said Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the NWS in Miami.
“We’re thinking the next four days, swimmers are going to have to be cautious,” Garcia said. “Right now, it seems like Palm Beach County is just in a bit of a spot where the energy is coming in.”
While rip currents are typically associated with strong easterly winds, Garcia said a long period swell, where there is up to 15 seconds between waves, can also create the dangerous currents because there is so much energy pushing the waves ashore.
“People are used to seeing swell periods of two, three, four and five seconds, but when it’s longer all that energy comes ashore all of a sudden,” Garcia said. “The amplitude is what makes it extreme in this case.”