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Stay away from the river, officials say

Posted at 6:52 PM, May 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-25 20:53:24-04

PROVO, Utah -- If you're heading outdoors this holiday weekend, authorities advise being wary of rivers as some are flowing dangerously fast with spring runoff.

Provo Fire & Rescue said the water in the Provo River is fast and freezing cold right now. They say you shouldn't even get within 10 feet of the river's shore — especially for kids and dogs.

Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for families to visit the parks along the river. Two years ago this weekend, a 4-year-old fell into the river, leading to the deaths of three people after adults jumped in after her.

The temperature of the water is also a concern — it hovers around 55 degrees or colder, meaning hypothermia can set in in less than a couple minutes.

"Just the inertia of the water is going to make it so you can't swim against it, you can't stand up in it," said Capt. Sam Armstrong of Provo Fire & Rescue. "Eight to 10 inches of water is enough to move a car."

It's like 700 basketballs flying past every second.

Officials warn to stay away from the river's edge, keep your kids closeby and pets on leashes. But in the worst case scenario you see someone fall into the river, do not jump in to help — officials say to call 911 immediately.

If you fall in yourself, the best thing to do is to float on your back with your feet first.