TAMPA, Fla. — The weather has warmed up from our cold spell last week and if you are planning to hit the beach this weekend, you need to be extra careful.
The National Weather Service has issued a rip current warning for Pinellas County and Coastal Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The warning is in effect through Sunday evening.
If you do go in the water, officials say to swim near a lifeguard and pay attention to flags and signs.
Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore. They usually occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar often near jetties and piers.
NWS says if you become caught in a rip current, yell for help. Remain calm and stay afloat while waiting for help. To swim out of a rip current, swim parallel to shore and back toward the beach when possible.
Officials say do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current as you will tire quickly and that can lead to drowning.