Beware if you're going into area rivers, lakes

SEATTLE -- With warm weather expected this weekend, recreational river and lake users were being advised Thursday to be extremely careful on area waterways that can be high, swift and cold from mountain snowmelt.

Flows on rivers fed by mountain snowpack could increase throughout the week as snowmelt accelerates. River temperatures can still be in the 40-degree range – and lakes aren’t that much warmer.

“The combination of warm weather and very cold water is a recipe for potential danger, and it is important that everyone thinking about going out on the water be aware of these early season conditions,” said Christie True, director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

“Every year, we see tragic and preventable drownings on our local rivers,” said Dr. David Fleming, director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Please use a personal flotation device if you go on the river. For safer places to swim, take advantage of local pools or life-guarded beaches.”

For more information on river safety and drowning prevention, visit the King County river safety web page at