Experts warn that hot weather doesn't mean warm rivers - KPTV - FOX 12

Experts warn that hot weather doesn't mean warm rivers

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CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

Even though temperatures could reach triple digits this weekend, medical and law enforcement experts are warning people to be careful around local rivers as water temperatures are still hovering around just 60 degrees, a possible recipe for hypothermia.

Josh Christiansen spent his Friday afternoon jumping into the water at High Rocks in Gladstone. FOX 12 was there as he walked back on shore, breathless and shivering a bit.

“It was so cold. Way too cold!”

Clackamas County Deputy Morgan Guthner works on the marine patrol unit. He knows that too many people are going to learn the hard way this weekend how cold the rivers really are.

“Oh yeah, the water is still in the low 60s,” said Guthner. “Your body loses temperature 25 times faster in water than it does in the air.”

If you’re into water sports, Guthner suggests wearing a wet suit this weekend. If you do get into trouble and deputies can reach you in time, they treat hypothermic swimmers by wrapping them in blankets, making sure they’re hydrated and getting them out of the wind.

Doctors and nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center are also advising swimmers to test the waters – literally. Emergency room RN Adam Pelzl said to dip your foot in to test the temperature before potentially shocking your entire body and tensing up.

“Do not just jump right in because that initial cold blast could just startle you which can lead to, especially for children, not wanting to swim. And they might drown.”

Josh Christiansen admits he could see that happening and says he might wait a couple months before taking the plunge at High Rocks again.

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