(KTXL) — Californians are being advised to hold off on spending time in rivers, streams and lakes this spring due to the record snowpack that will increase water levels as temperatures rise.
“The series of winter storms is causing rising river and stream flow levels not seen in years,” CAL FIRE said.
Cold water rushing down from the snowpack could incapacitate even strong swimmers and people could also get stranded on rocks as water levels change throughout the day.
“After successive low-water drought years, it is imperative that Californians understand water safety in and around rivers, streams, lakes and Sierra reservoirs,” State Parks Director Armando Quintero said.
All Californians are being encouraged to wait until summer to recreate in the water when conditions are safer, but precautions should still be taken, according to CAL FIRE and other emergency officials.
Even if water levels appear low, the current underneath the surface could be strong and sweep swimmers away.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District recommends designating someone that will keep an eye on people in the water — that way if something happens, they can get help right away.
The Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART), a non-profit volunteer organization, and Metro Fire advise people to get and properly wear life vests.
“Wear a life jacket that is appropriate for the person it’s going on and appropriate for the activity that you’re doing,” said DART Public Information Officer Zachary Corbo. “Not every life jacket is created to do all things. If you’re on a jet ski, wear one that’s meant for a jet ski, if you’re in a kayak, wear one that’s meant for a kayak.”