Sunny, warm weekend can bring danger on the water

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 8:30 PM

Do not let the warm weather forecast this weekend fool you. Getting out on the water can be dangerous because lakes and rivers are still very cold. There are often reports of drownings on local waters during the first really warm weekend each spring.

Temperatures Friday through Monday will range between the mid-70s to low 80s. But, KING 5 Meteorologist Rich Marriott says most rivers are still about 30 degrees and Puget Sound is in the upper 40s. Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish are around 52 degrees. So, the risk of hypothermia is still high despite the warm air temperatures. Forecast

Something that can make a swimmer or boater even more susceptible is alcohol.

“The sun, the wind, the environmental factors increase the affect of alcohol on your system,” said Frank Dvorak with United States Power Squadrons, which focuses on teaching safe boating.

On average, 23 people die in a drowning accident in King County every year. Most of those victims were not wearing life vests. Dvorak said it’s more difficult to convince adults than children to wear life vests. State law says children 12 and under must wear life vests, but it’s recommended that you have a life vest for every person on board.

There is also danger in the mountains from avalanches. The Cascades received 1-to-2 feet of new snow this week. Avalanche danger is highest in the late morning and afternoon hours. Most trails above 2,500 feet are covered in snow now.

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