SPI Beach Patrols Ask Beachgoers to Follow Flag Warnings
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – As Tropical Storm Cindy continues creating rough conditions on South Padre Island, officials are asking beachgoers to heed their warnings.
To help inform visitors about the day's dangers, color-coded flags are posted up at every public beach access on the Island. Beach Access 3 warned beachgoers of rough and dangerous surf, and marine life on Wednesday.
Alyssa Bechos was there with her family. She said there are no beaches in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. She admitted she didn't notice the flag warnings, just yards from where she was.
"Until you pointed them out, I didn't even notice that there were flags out," she said.
Bechos added she has heard of a rip current.
"I know that it sucks people back out into the water, but that's all that I really know about it," Bechos said.
Lt. Jim Pigg, with the South Padre Island Beach Patrol, said he understands people may not know about the warnings posted at the beach entrances. That's why he has 11 to 17 lifeguards on duty every day this summer.
"Watch out for rip currents. They are spotted by a backflow of water, rushing back into the Gulf and also breaking waves. If it's breaking over the second sandbar, we go to red flag conditions," Pigg said.
A red flag indicates dangerous conditions; a yellow flag warning indicates moderate surf conditions, while a blue flag indicates potentially dangerous marine life, such as jellyfish.
All 26 public beach accesses within the city limits have the color-coded system to help beachgoers, Pigg explained.
He said people are urged to stay close to areas with a lifeguard on duty.