Spring breakers in Panama City may be spending the afternoon poolside instead of going in the gulf. The Bay County Sheriff's Office has posted double red flags at county beaches, closing the waters to swimmers.
Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service in Tallahassee had issued a Coastal Hazard Message warning of a high risk of rip currents along all Florida panhandle beaches. Wave heights are expected to reach 3 to 4 feet today with slightly lower levels expected for the rest of the week. The current Hip Rip Current Risk remains in effect until Wednesday morning, affecting Gulf, Walton, and Bay Counties.
According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the shore that can easily trap swimmers and pull them out to sea. The affect of these currents is most obvious at low spots or breaks in the sandbar .