Red flag conditions don't deter some swimmers in Clearwater - WFLA News Channel 8

Red flag conditions don't deter some swimmers in Clearwater

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You get cold just looking at the swimmers playing in the water near Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. The air temp hovered around 50 degrees, the water was a balmy 63. Ask some of the diehards, and you find out why. 

"Because we don't have beaches like this in Iowa. So what the heck? So we're here in Florida. Why not?" said Riley Gunderson.

Red flags flying at all lifeguard towers mean the surf and strong currents pose a high hazard. "We have long currents that are going parallel to the shore and everywhere that we have a structure on the water , we're trying to keep people out of, so along the jetty and under Pier 60" said Joelle Castelli with the City of Clearwater. Special "no swimming" flags are up in those two locations.

The churning gulf isn't what spring breakers had in mind when they booked their trip. 

"I'm gonna lie and say I had the best time in my life. It was so sunny. And we got the best tans" said Julia Saleh from Ohio.

Clearwater  lifeguard rescue responses take a leap this time of year. 2012 figures show a huge increase from around 800 February, to more than 4000 in March.

"They should check in with the lifeguard tower. See what flags are flying. See what those flags mean and then stay close to the lifeguard tower" said the city spokesperson, Joelle Castelli. 

 

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