Panama City, FL (94.5 WFLA) - Local officials have raised the red flag at area beaches due to a high risk of rip currents across coastal Walton, Gulf, and Bay counties.

The National Weather Service reports winds today will reach 15 to 20 miles per hour across area beaches, generating surf heights of 2 to 4 feet with higher sets at the Panhandle beaches, creating extremely dangerous rip conditions.

According to Major Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's office, a visual inspection by the Sheriff and Panama City Beach Police Department has confirmed the condition and warranted a single red flag being raised.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore - which occur most often in low spots or breaks in the sandbar in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties, and piers.