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Tropical Storm Arthur will increase rip currents at beaches in St. Johns County.


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Beachgoers in St. Johns County found it hard to believe a tropical system was brewing off shore Tuesday. The day was beautiful.

Nevertheless, red flags were flying along St. Johns County beaches because of the moderate to severe risk of rips currents this week.

Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire Rescue said "If you are not a strong swimmer when we're flying red flags, we ask you stay out of the water or go very shallow."

Kathy Akins of Gainesville was closely watching her young granddaughter and little friend in the surf at Vilano Beach.

"We told them they could not go out very far because of how high the waves are and the rip currents and how dangerous it is. It can pull them out before they realize it," Akins noted.

This is the busiest time of the year for St. Johns County beaches, so the beaches are full of people. Some know what to do with rip currents, and then there are many visitors who do not.

Robshaw said, "If you have children, keep the children in shallow water, keep them with you. If they have boogie boards or surf boards, make sure they're leased to those boogie boards so they don't lose that flotation."

Robshaw expects conditions to worsen Wednesday on the beaches, but to improve by July 4th.

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