MIAMI -- Emergency officials say there’s a high risk of rip currents along beaches in South Florida.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management is warning beachgoers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach to stay out of the water where red flags are flying through Monday.
State meteorologist Amy Godsey told The Miami Herald Sunday that strong onshore winds and ocean swells can create rough beach conditions, including dangerous rip currents.
Rip currents run perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. The powerful currents are a major concern for beach lifeguards. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are attributed to rip currents.
High levels of red tide have been found in waters off Lee County.
A red tide bloom that formed two weeks ago off Sarasota and moved south to the area of Captiva. It was detected in the Gulf of Mexico off Lee County.
Last week, fish kills were reported off Lee and Charlotte counties.
Officials say red tide is caused by Karenia brevis algae, which produce dangerous toxins that get into the water and air. In addition to killing fish, it can also cause respiratory in people as winds blow the toxins toward the shore.