Temperatures are on the rise, there’s more rain in the forecast and this year’s snowpack has begun to melt off, prompting officials in Summit County to monitor rising water levels.
With the Memorial Day weekend in full swing, Summit County Sheriff John Minor reminds residents and visitors to be especially cautious in and around county waterways.
“During spring runoff, creeks and streams can be particularly dangerous as flows are often higher and faster than they are during the summer months,” Minor said in a news release. “And the water temperature is just above freezing.”
When taking part in outdoor activities on or near the water this spring, remember that elevated river flows can cause fast currents.
Playing along the banks of fast-moving water is especially dangerous for children and pets, as they can easily slip on wet, muddy ground and be swept into the icy water, the release stated.
The sheriff’s office recommends that visitors and residents follow these safety rules during periods of high water:
• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground immediately.
• Stay away from flood-prone areas, including dips, low spots, valleys, ditches and washes.
• Avoid flooded areas or those with rapid water flow
• Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream — it takes only 6 inches of fast flowing water to sweep people off their feet
• Don’t allow children or pets to play near high water, storm drains, culverts or ditches, as hidden dangers could lie beneath the water.
• Adults can easily be sucked under and drown in the strong currents near culverts.
• Because floodwaters can hide significant road damage, never drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads.
• If a vehicle stalls it is best to leave it immediately and seek higher ground — water only 2 feet deep can cause most automobiles to float.
• Do not camp or park a vehicle along streams and washes, particularly when threatening conditions exist.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
• Monitor National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or local media for vital weather information.
For more information about the impacts of high water and how to prepare for the spring runoff, download the Summit County High Water Preparedness information brochure from the Summit County web site.