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As snow melts, rivers rise…and so does the danger of drowning

Snowbird resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Firefighters and the National Weather Service are warning people about the dangers of fast rising rivers, which could happen as temperatures climb into the 80s over the next two weeks.

Utah was slammed with lots of snow this winter and spring, with some areas getting more than 700 inches. Reservoirs are releasing more water downstream to keep up with all the snow melt.

Rivers from Logan to St. George are expected to swell, and many are already running colder and faster than normal.

Streams that look peaceful can quickly turn deadly. A woman drowned in the creek at Tanner Park in Salt Lake City last year when she misjudged the water while chasing after her dogs.

Flotation devices have been put around the park’s creek this year as a precaution.

Some people walking in Tanner Park on Friday said they’re aware of the danger.

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind whenever I come down into the gully and whenever my dog goes into the water,” said Grace Alder.

But others have a more balanced view, like Ogden resident Keeley Lindsey.

“I use common sense when out on the trails. When you’re going out recreating, you should probably be aware of the high river,” Lindsey said.