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Beach Safety Alert issued, expect red-flag conditions through the weekend

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A Beach Safety Alert was issued Thursday morning by Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue, saying to expect red-flag conditions through the weekend.

Lifeguards are advising all swimmers to stay out of the water.

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If you’re a highly-experienced swimmer and still choose to hit the waves, they ask that you swim near a lifeguard and not alone.

Lifeguards are warning about a period of dangerous and life-threatening beach conditions from Hurricane Fiona and an incoming cold front, which our First Alert Weather Team has been on top of.

“The Ocean Rescue lifeguards are prepared for rough surf and dangerous ocean conditions,” said Lt. Maxwell Ervanian with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue.

Ervanian said lifeguards are prepared to respond to emergencies in the water and on the beach.

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“We really advise people not to go in the water during the red-flag conditions,” Ervanian said. “We have a saying that waist deep is too deep. You should always stay in knee-deep water or less during red-flag conditions.”

Lifeguards say to expect red-flag conditions until rough surf and high rip current activity decrease to moderate conditions.

Jim Cox has been surfing since 1968.

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“We’re all expecting the swell to come in, but we’re also expecting north winds,” said Cox. “It’s going to be just kind of victory at sea type of stuff.”

Joseph Salcido shared his take on Thursday morning’s waves.

“Irregular and a little more powerful .. I got my butt kicked,” Salcido said.

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JBOR said that if you are caught in a rip current, relax, don’t swim against the current.

If you are able to, swim in a diagonal direction following the shoreline, back to shore.

“Whether you are a very good surfer, kiteboarder or what have you --- you never want to swim alone and you always want to be in front of a lifeguard,” Ervanian said.

The Beach Safety Alert is set to expire on Monday.

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