Colorado River swelling near flood level

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Hot temperatures have the snow pack melting fast and the Colorado River swelling. Officials warning folks today to take the proper precautions this Memorial Day weekend if they plan to be on the water.

With temperatures tying the previous record of 92 today here in the valley and near 80 in the higher elevations the Colorado river is running fast and full.

Not only warm temps but a chance of rain later this week could add to the river levels. All this right before one of the busiest weekends of the year for river enthusiasts. With the Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, officials have this warning:

"It"s not a time for recreational use unless you have the right equipment," says Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey. No matter how experienced, you should always be prepared. He also says that "a personal flotation device should be as standard as sunglasses and sunscreen when out on the river."

With seven drowning deaths in 2007 and two in 2008 officials say the use of a life vest is very important. Even experienced fishing guides plan to stay clear when the waters are raging.

"We won't take them because of the safety issue, we're telling people not to even get into the river," says Tyler Clifton of Western Anglers.

And the warning is not only for this weekend. Hilkey says "typically these conditions usually last about three weeks to a month." Because even if we cool down a little, the temps for the rest of the month are forecasted to still be warmer than average.

The Sheriff also says that equipment made for a swimming pool is not safe to use in the river and everyone should wear a life jacket. He
also says a lot of people float the river under the influence and drugs and alcohol and he hopes that won't be the case this year.

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