Don’t swim in Northern California rivers, officials warn. How cold and fast is the water?

by ZeuCer

It is still too cold to swim in Northern California rivers, officials warned Thursday. Temperatures are in the 90s in Sacramento — but don’t give into the temptation to take a dip in local waterways. The record Sierra snowpack is melting, causing fast and cold currents longer than even regulars are used to. “The American River is flowing very fast this weekend, and we want residents to be aware of just how dangerous it can be,” said Liz Bellas, director of regional parks, in a Sacramento County news release Thursday. “The flows are so swift that the rafting companies along the river aren’t renting out equipment this weekend – it’s just too dangerous.” Water flowing out of the Nimbus Dam into the American River is anticipated to be flowing “six times higher” than normal for the summer months at 12,000 cubic feet per second, the news release stated. Not only are rivers flowing fast, the water is cold, too. HOW COLD IS THE RIVER WATER? “Even though the air temperature feels really warm, the water is still running really cold and really fast from the snowmelt,” said Katrina Hand, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Even for an experienced swimmer, cold water temperatures can create difficult conditions, Hand warned. Taking a plunge into cold water can be a shock to the body, and in some cases can become deadly. The North Fork American River near Auburn warmed up only to 53 degrees Wednesday, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. It dipped as low as 47 degrees on May 3, 5, 6 and 7. The American River near Fair Oaks in Sacramento County was measured at between 55 degrees and 56 degrees most of the past week. County officials in Thursday’s news release said the river is usually warmer than 60 degrees this time of year.

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