It’s difficult to believe that over the last three days my backyard has gone from six inches of new snow to flooding. With temperatures in the Adirondacks skyrocketing from near freezing to the mid-80s in some areas on Wednesday, flood warnings and rising water levels are prevalent. All that snow has to go somewhere.
With this 40-degree temperature shift, streams and rivers will be more challenging, if not impossible to cross. What people may forget, though is that the water temperatures are colder than usual for the beginning of May. It may feel like summer, but the cold water is what we need be wary of.
Now that the air is warm, the first thing my children want to do is get out on the water. I don’t blame them. It has been a long winter, with a few extra winter weeks thrown in for good measure. Our bodies want to just take to the sailboats or canoes in our tee shirts and shorts, but we need to dress for the water temperature not the air temperature.
Each spring we read about another senseless boating or swimming accident. Please take special precautions. Wear a pdf and cold water protection, and stay away from powerful streams where waters are high.
New York State requires boaters in a vessel of less than 21 feet to wear a life vest until May 1. But this year, boaters should take extra precautions through the month of May as water temperatures remain cold.
Cold water shock when water temperatures are less than 40 degrees (as they mostly are now) is considered extremely dangerous and life threatening. It can take less than 15 minutes for exhaustion or unconsciousness to set in.
Swimming or falling into swollen rivers and streams can take your life. Do not swim in fast moving waters.
Be safe. Summer will be here soon enough.
Photo of St. Regis Falls in April courtesy Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com