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Local officials urge increased caution as weather warms up, water levels rise

Posted at 9:11 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 23:11:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY — With the weather warming up, that means streams, creeks and river flows are about to rise dramatically.

“Despite the pandemic situation, mother nature is not going to slow down her role for us," Unified Fire Authority spokesman Matthew McFarland said. "The seasonal melt is still going to happen.”

Combine that with cabin fever sending many people outside, officials are warning everyone to be very careful near any flowing water.

“Everyone’s going stir crazy, trying to get outside. If you’re outside recreating, if you’re near flowing water, make sure you give it a wide berth, especially with children and especially with pets — that’s where we see the problems arise," McFarland said.

McFarland says UFA river rescue teams have dealt with numerous situations and near drownings where people have gone in after their pets.

He says even an adult in good shape can be swept away as little as a foot of water — water which is extremely cold right now.

“You fall down in water that’s just melted, your body is going to shut down very quickly, your ability to use your motor coordination is going to go away in a hurry," McFarland said. "Even if you are a strong swimmer, even if you are fit, even if the water’s not deep, you can still find yourself in peril when you didn’t expect it.”

He just wants to share these reminders as increasing numbers of folks begin heading outside as the weather warms up.