ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - Coupled with dangerous rip currents along the Gulf Coast, safety officials in Orange Beach raised purple flags Thursday after spotting Portuguese Man O' War in the water.
Orange Beach Surf Rescue removed around 25 of the venomous blue creatures by 5 p.m.; thankfully no stings were reported.
"The way I explain it is they're jellyfish on steroids," Brett Lesinger with Orange Beach Surf Rescue said. "These are creatures that pack a powerful punch their venom is a lot stronger than a regular jellyfish."
The creatures, which are not jellyfish but rather marine hydrozoans, deliver very painful stings with their long tentacles. They can also sting when dead.
"It can leave a welt," Lesinger said. "It raises up the skin and it's not a pretty sight."
Coupled with the dangerous Man O' War in the water, Orange Beach Surf Rescue kept a close eye on potential rip currents in the rough waters Thursday. Officials raised red flags for the second straight day and kept a close eye on people testing their luck in the rough waters; though the majority of beach-goers and vacationers stayed out of the water because it was so cold.
"Well the water was really cold so we weren't going to get [in the water] anyway but if there's a bunch of [Man O' War] out there, I think it'd be pretty terrifying," one Spring Break vacationer said.
Throughout the day, many Orange Beach patrons stopped to inspect the Man O' War that had washed ashore.
No word on whether the creatures will be in the water Friday, so keep an eye on whether Orange Beach Surf Rescue raises the purple flag again. Red flag conditions are expected to return Friday but improve by the weekend.