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Hot weather equals danger near streams and rivers

Published: Sunday, May 12 2013 6:06 p.m. MDT

Abe Croney helps his dog out of the water in Parleys Historic Nature Park in Salt Lake City Sunday, May 12, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The 90-plus degrees forecast for Monday has authorities issuing strong words of caution for people to keep themselves, their children and any pets a safe distance from snow-fed streams and rivers.

"This time of year as temperatures start to get warm, there is a lot of snowpack still up in the mountains," said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. "The rivers become very swift and very deep and the water is very cold."

Hoyal noted that the areas like Big and Little Cottonwood canyons are an attractive recreation option in late spring, but pose dangers because of the fast-moving creeks.

"People love to go watch the water. It is an amazing thing to see — even the sheer beauty of how fast it is going," he said. "But people get close and underestimate the danger that is there. That water will sweep them away very quickly."

The agency is no stranger to swift-water rescues, but Hoyal said too often crews face daunting challenges trying to retrieve victims before it is too late. The best practice is to keep a distance from the water by never underestimating its power.

"Adults also need to use extreme caution so they don't lose their balance and fall in," he said.

Monday's predicted 91 degrees by the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City is anticipated to be the hottest day of the year so far and temperatures are expected to be less sultry for the week. Tuesday through Thursday should see temperatures in the low to mid-80s. By the weekend, a chance of showers will creep in, with a high of only 67 predicted for May 19.

The climbing temperatures also helped drive an air pollution alert on Sunday in Weber County for ozone, with air quality regulators advising residents to voluntarily reduce driving by consolidating trips or using mass transit.

With Monday's even warmer weather forecast, the Utah Division of Air Quality is predicting a similar voluntary advisory for ozone in Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties.

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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