NOAA technology helps predict when deadly rip currents could occur
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has built a new system to actually detect when deadly rip currents are likely to happen.
"We can forecast that every kilometer along shore, so covering the entire coastline, and then going every hour out to six days into the future," said Dr. Greg Dusek, a NOAA researcher.
They use computer models to analyze wave and tidal patterns to make their predictions of whether or not rip currents will show up along a beach.
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"So it relies on these computer models to make a prediction of rip currents at a specific location and instance in time," Dusek said.
NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS) worked together on the project, which uses wave and water level information from the NWS’s recently-upgraded nearshore wave prediction system.
"The performance even six days out, in most locations, has been really good. That's because we're able to predict waves so well, further out than typical weather conditions," said Dusek.
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NOAA says every year about a hundred people die in rip currents. They say this new information will help people stay safer and hopefully save more lives. Swimmers will still need to rely on common sense when visiting the beach.
Beach Patrol says when it comes to safety in the surf, the most important thing is to always swim in front of a lifeguard.
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