The National Weather Service in Miami is reporting a man died Sunday after saving his wife from a rip current that developed in waters off Miami Beach.
Strong southeasterly winds created a high risk of rip currents Sunday along the coasts of Broward and Miam-Dade counties.
A moderate risk of rip currents continues today along the east coast of South Florida beaches, forecasters said.
According to the Miami Herald, the 34-year-old man was swimming with his wife near 23rd Street at about 2 p.m. Sunday.
When the couple, who are from Fort Myers, got into trouble, the man was able to help his wife to safety, but he couldn’t get out and was pulled from the water not breathing.
Charlie Paxton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa who has studied rip currents throughout the U.S., said Florida has the highest number of rip current-related deaths because it is a vacation hot spot, with a lengthy coastline and warm waters.
Tourists can overestimate their swimming ability and underestimate the power of the ocean.
“If you see someone struggling, throw them a flotation device,” said Paxton, noting that would-be rescuers can also end up in trouble. “If you are the only thing floating that they can grab onto, bad things can happen.”
NOAA’s Storm Events Database lists rip currents as the cause of 80 deaths in Florida since 2010.