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Excessive heat and rip currents expected across the state this Independence Day weekend

As Independence Day celebrations begin this weekend, Floridians should be aware of several weather hazards that could impact their festivities: Excessive heat and strong currents along the shore. Both conditions can pose life-threatening risks, and residents are urged to be careful if spending time outside or at the beach this weekend.

Heat indices across the state have already exceeded 100 degrees for several days this week and record high temperatures have been chased or broken. Meteorologists at National Weather Service in Miami reported that the record high temperature for Miami was broken on June 28 and 29. There, the peak temperature on both days reached 95 degrees, breaking the old record of 94 degrees. In Key West, record high temperatures were either set or broken on June 27, 28, and 29. Farther north, over the Panhandle, heat indices ranged between 100 degrees to 110 degrees for most of the week.

The excessive heat is forecasted to persist across the state through the Independence Day weekend, thanks in part to mid-level high pressure lingering over the Southeast. High temperatures should hover in the mid to upper 90s, while heat indices could range between 100 degrees and 110 degrees through at least Tuesday, July 4. A Heat Advisory remains in effect for the westernmost counties of the Panhandle through at least Friday evening.

To stay safe in the heat, it is recommended to limit time outside, especially during the mid to late afternoon when temperatures and heat indices typically reach their peak. If you are going to be outdoors, wear light colored and loose-fitting clothing, apply sunscreen, hydrate frequently with water, and seek shaded areas.

Many residents and tourists will attempt to beat the heat at Florida’s beaches. Before entering the water, check the beach conditions and the beach flags: Rip currents are forecasted along Atlantic and Panhandle beaches. These strong currents can quickly pull those swimming and wading far from shore.

Rip Current Safety
Rip Current Safety

According to statistics published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents have killed 25 Florida beach goers so far this year. To keep yourself and your family safe at the beach, check conditions before entering the water, and always swim near a lifeguard. If you are swept away by a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once you are out of the current, then swim back to the beach. If this is not possible, tread water and signal to the shore that you are in distress.

By remaining aware of weather and beach conditions, celebrations this Independence Day can remain fun and incident free.