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Memorial Day Weekend was the unofficial start of summer. The beaches were jam-packed, as last winter’s polar vortex has become a distant memory. But Florida’s Volusia County has been hit with a wave of trouble.
Monday, there were more than 120 water rescues, mostly due to dangerous rip currents. On Sunday, lifeguards rescued about 100 swimmers from rough waters. Red flags dotted the sands in Daytona Beach, Florida, warning swimmers of possible danger.
“I had a panic attack. My heart almost stopped beating, and that’s why I have to leave the beach right now,” said Teresa Lattimore, a mother whose 10-year-old son was among those caught in the potentially deadly currents.
Rip currents are powerful channels of fast-moving water. They’re caused by shifting sands that can move at speeds of up to 8 feet per second. Lifeguards say your best bet against them is to swim parallel to the shore.
In total, Florida lifeguards rescued 220 people this holiday weekend, more than they usually rescue in two full weeks.