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Deadliest Threat: Could rip current text alerts save lives?

(img: WPMI) Deadliest Threat: Could rip current text alerts save lives?

There aren’t red flags on Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island, and sometimes even beaches with flags are ignored.

What does it take to get people’s attention?

Since 1996, more than 100 people have died from being carried away by rip currents between Dauphin Island and Destin, Fla., alone.

An idea floated by Rep. Bradley Byrne and the Baldwin County Commission is a text alert, similar to the warnings people get about storms and AMBER alerts, based on geography.

That way, out of towners would also get the heads up that the waters are dangerous enough to have rip current warnings, flags or not.

We went to the National Weather Service today to ask if that’s feasible.

They told us that while it would be a positive step, there will need to be several logistical steps taken before it goes into action, including approval from the FCC.

Baldwin County and the NWS are working to communicate with federal officials about that possibility.

In the meantime, NWS Mobile is the first NWS branch to issue a 4-day rip current outlook, which is docked right on their front page, weather.gov/mob.

They say they will continue doing everything they can to try and warn people to stay out of the water when rip current conditions are present.

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