By Gabe Gutierrez
Memorial Day Weekend was the unofficial start of summer. The beaches were jam-packed, as last winters polar vortex has become a distant memory. But Floridas Volusia County has been hit with a wave of trouble.
Monday, there were more than 120 water rescues, mostly due to dangerous rip currents. On Sunday, lifeguards rescued about 100 swimmers from rough waters. Red flags dotted the sands in Daytona Beach, Florida, warning swimmers of possible danger.
I had a panic attack. My heart almost stopped beating, and thats why I have to leave the beach right now, said Teresa Lattimore, a mother whose 10-year-old son was among those caught in the potentially deadly currents.
Rip currents are powerful channels of fast-moving water. Theyre caused by shifting sands that can move at speeds of up to 8 feet per second. Lifeguards say your best bet against them is to swim parallel to the shore.
In total, Florida lifeguards rescued 220 people this holiday weekend, more than they usually rescue in two full weeks.
First published May 26 2014, 2:52 PM
Gabe Gutierrez is an NBC News correspondent based in Atlanta, Ga. He joined the network in March 2012, and reports for all platforms of NBC News, including “TODAY,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” MSNBC, NBCLatino.com, and NBCNews.com, as well as Telemundo.
Gutierrez came to NBC News from KHOU 11 News in Houston, Texas, where he worked as the station’s City Hall reporter. Prior to working in Houston, Gabe was a weekend morning anchor and reporter at WJRT-TV, the ABC station in Flint, Mich. While at WJRT, he regularly produced and hosted the station’s public affairs program in addition to covering the state legislature and the auto industry. His first on-air job was at WBOY-TV, the NBC affiliate in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he anchored weekend newscasts and reported during the week. While in college, Gutierrez interned at Telemundo in South Florida and at ABC News’ satellite feed in Chicago.
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Florida Beaches Face Dangerous Rip Currents