- Know Before You Go! One of the best ways to be prepared for rip currents and other beach hazards is to know what you could be swimming into at the beach!
- In addition to local expertise from our meteorologists, the National Weather Service runs a nearshore-wave model that helps forecast the potential rip current risk each day. The surf forecast is issued early each morning and updated later that morning after we receive updates from the local beach officials and lifeguards. Occasionally, lifeguards or beach officials will see that rip current conditions are evolving quicker or slower than our initial forecast, so we update the forecast to reflect the current conditions.
- You will see that we use three tiers of qualifiers or “risk levels” in our beach forecasts – low, moderate, and high. High Risk is the highest level and means that the wind, swell, and/or tidal conditions are extremely favorable for the development of numerous deadly rip currents in the surf zone. A high risk means the surf is dangerous for ALL LEVELS of swimmers
- Click the links below to get your nearby beach forecast:
Fort Walton Beach
Panama City Beach
Cape San Blas Beach
St. George Island Beaches
Low … The risk of rip currents is low, however, life-threatening rip currents may still occur especially near groins, jetties, reefs, and piers. Always swim near a lifeguard and remember to heed the advice of the local beach patrol and flag warning systems.
Moderate … Life-threatening rip currents are possible. Always swim near a lifeguard and remember to heed the advice of the local beach patrol and flag warning systems.
High … Life-threatening rip currents are likely. The surf zone is dangerous for all levels of swimmers. Stay out of the water. Remember to heed the advice of the local beach patrol and flag warning systems.
UV Index Scale
Low (2 or less) … Low danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person. Wear sunglasses on bright days. If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen.
Moderate (3-5) … Moderate risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take precautions, such as covering up, if you will be outside. Stay in shade near midday when the sun is strongest.
High (6-7) … High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Protection against sunburn is needed. Reduce time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
Very High (8-10) … Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take extra precautions. Unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn quickly. Minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Otherwise, seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
Extreme (11+) … Extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take all precautions. Unprotected skin can burn in minutes. Beach goers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and will increase UV exposure. Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
None … No thunderstorms are expected
Low … Thunderstorms are only expected to be isolated in coverage
Moderate … Thunderstorms are forecast to be scattered in coverage
High … Thunderstorms are forecast to be numerous or widespread in coverage
None … No risk of waterspout development
Low … Low risk of waterspout development
Moderate … Moderate risk of waterspout development
High … High risk of waterspout development
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