Less Drownings This Summer; Good News for Local Beaches

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When it comes to drownings, no news is good news.

The Bay County Beach Patrol Division of the Sheriff's Office says they can't recall a single drowning this year.

Experts say that's because the weather's been relatively calm.

Bay County Deputies are used to responding to hundreds of "swimmers-in-distress" calls each summer - as many as 15 a day.

Bay County Deputy Steve Nagy, "We had many weekends straight in a row where our guys were working in either single red or double red flag conditions and we would respond all day long."

But this summer, the shores of Bay County have stayed quiet.

Nagy says, "I don't believe we've had any drownings in the county this year."

Nagy believes the the weather could be why.

Michaels says, "Relatively, we haven't had too many dangerous days out on the beaches. Red flag conditions have been relatively low. Every so often we've had some storm systems work their way through but for the most part there's been a lot of good days."

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee says we've been seeing more of these cold fronts pass through to the southeast region than we have in previous summers.

That helps disrupt those southerly winds or those big wave rip current producing winds, replacing them with winds from the north that help to calm our Gulf waters.

But just because we haven't seen high rip currents yet, doesn't mean won't.

Michaels says, "We're just now getting into one of our more active months and by the end of this month and heading into next month, that's when we'll be right around the peak of our hurricane activity."

Nagy urges beach-goers to pay attention to the flags on the beach that indicate how rough the waters are.

Bay County deputies say beach-goers should also be wary of yellow-flags.