Chelan County Warns About Cold Water During Warm Weekend
Chelan County Public Works is asking the public to be aware of water conditions with the warm weekend coming up.
The department published a message from the National Weather Service on social media which asks people who plan to boat, swim or paddle to take precautions.
Weather Service meteorologist Valerie Thaler says it's important to be aware of the risks of sudden cold-water immersion.
"Cold water shock is a very real occurrence, and a very real concern for people going into the water," said Thaler.
The Weather Service says warm air can create a false sense of security and warns that unplanned immersion into cold water can lead to cold water shock, physical incapacitation, or hypothermia.
Thaler says there are some basic precautions people can take when heading to the water.
"If people want to go out to the lakes and the rivers to go swimming to cool off, to make sure that they are wearing a life jacket and aren't going alone," Thaler said.
The Weather Service says wearing a life jacket significantly increases chances of survival during events like sudden cold-water immersion.
When Cold Shock and Hypothermia begin to impact a person's ability to think and act, lifejackets and floatation can create extra time for help to arrive or for the person to get out of danger.
According to the Weather Service, 55-degree water can be deadly, as cold water drains body heat up to four times faster than cold air.
"Cold shock” can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
The sudden gasp and rapid breathing alone creates a greater risk of drowning even for confident swimmers in calm waters. In rougher open water the danger increases.
The Weather Service says unplanned immersion in cold water can be life-threatening for anyone without protection from the temperatures or a lifejacket to help a person stay afloat.