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Beautiful Holiday Weather Likely To Bring Dangerous Waters

Safe Kids Utah is urging parents to make sure children are supervised anytime there's water around. With great weather expected this weekend, the drowning risk is expected to be higher.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a beautiful holiday weekend ahead. But it’s also warning of weather hazards: swift and cold water.

The warm temperatures and sunny skies predicted for the holiday weekend are the same factors that could make the outdoors dangerous. That’s because the drowning risk will also be up.

“As we move into the later part of spring, we deal with a lot of snowmelt,” says Mike Seaman is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. “Most rivers and lakes across the area do tend to run high, they run fast and they run very cold.”" target="_blank">Runoff is expected to pick up with average temperatures warming to around 80 degrees -- just as people head to lakes and rivers for summer recreation. Forecasters are calling the outlook hazardous through the weekend.

“It gives a heads up to people to take a little extra precaution. Just be careful.”

Safe Kids Utah is also watching the forecast and urging parents to take special care around lakes, streams and swimming pools.

“Kids can easily slip away when you turn your back to them for just a couple of minutes, and a drowning can happen so quickly,” says Cambree Applegate, who leads the Utah program. “So, we just advise parents to stay away from those areas if possible.”

Forty-two children drowned in Utah between 2011 and 2015. Children under age 5 accounted for half of those deaths. And two Utah children have already drowned this month. Applegate suggests designating one adult as the “Water Watcher” during any gatherings where there are children and water. Safe Kids has additional summer safety tips on its web page.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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