High risk of rip currents for coastal areas in Tampa Bay region

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Scattered rain showers may have impacted your beach weekend, but local officials want you to be worried about something more dangerous off the coast: rip currents.

The National Weather Service issued a warning about the high risk of rip currents in coastal Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Manatee, and Pinellas counties. 

The warning remains in effect through Monday evening, but that didn't keep families off the beach on Sunday. 

"I'm not nervous," said 11-year-old Isabella Lopresti standing next to her father, Tony, on Madeira Beach. 

He says the pre-teen takes swim lessons, but they always play it safe when wading out into the waves. 

"When we first get out to the water we check to see how the conditions are," Lopresti explained. "With high waves like today we generally don't go out more than waist high or knee high." 

Signs warning about the dangers of rip currents can be seen posted up and down Bay Area beaches. They also provide information on what to do if you get caught in one.

It's recommended that if you find yourself swept up in a rip tide, don't fight it. Instead, try to swim parallel to the shore or float to a safe spot. 

If you escape but can't get back to shore, continue to float or tread water until you are able to signal someone for help.