Humidity: 58%
Pressure: 30.43 in


Drowning danger on rivers swells with warm-weather revelers

Drowning danger on rivers swells with warm-weather revelers
Warm weather, cold, fast-moving rivers, and alcohol is a bad combination that King County deputies know all too well.

This weekend is expected to be the warmest so far this year and deputies expect there to be a drowning on a river.

The water's cold, about 47 degrees, and rescue teams can't monitor every river and stream and chances are if you get in trouble, you're on your own.

Frigid rivers on sunny days are magnets for danger.

With the temperature of the water the way it is and the trees it could be deadly for a novice.

Kayakers bundled in long underwear, fleece, and dry suits say Friday's ride down the Green River was riddled with obstacles.

"If you get caught in fallen trees the water keeps moving and you don't and you can't get yourself loose from it," kayaker Nancy O'Connor said.

If you get trapped in that cold water, it can kill even good swimmers.

Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Department says you actually have a better chance of dying from the cold water shock than the hypothermia--you'll likely not even be alive long enough in the water to be hypothermic.

Cold water shock triggers that sudden gasp for breath and incapacitates muscles making it tough to move. West says she is worried there will be drownings this weekend especially by Flaming Geyser where rapids attract rafters and tubers.

"We'll have a boat on Lake Washington, a boat on Lake Sammamish but we can't cover all the rivers, you're on your own. Our response time could be 30 minutes to an hour or longer," West said.

Rich Enfield, who lives on the Green River, warns his granddaughters about dangers especially after his son nearly drowned on the river.

Enfield says and he jumped in without a wetsuit and said it sucked the air right out of him--he couldn't breathe.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff's department says they're trying to prepare you not scare you.

Their advice is to wear life jackets, keep kids by the shore, and don't go in after your dog. Two people have drowned trying to save their dogs who ended up swimming to safety.
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