Advice for swimming in Vermont's risky waters - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Advice for swimming in Vermont's risky waters

Posted: Updated:

Taking a swim on a hot day is refreshing and fun, but it can also be pretty dangerous, especially in moving water.

The temperatures and humidity are climbing this week and so is the number of people trying to keep cool in the water.

But swimming, especially in strong currents is risky; It only takes several inches of moving water to wipe you off your feet.

"Over the last 20 years or so just in Vermont there have been almost 40 deaths in swimming holes," said Andy Nash, National Weather Service in Burlington.

Nash has worked with the NWS for more than 20 years. He says after heavy rain, rivers and streams quickly rise, but are slow to recede.

"The next couple of days after a rainstorm are particularly dangerous; you have high flows, strong currents, things are not what you expect them to be," said Nash.

Last Thursday, just a couple days after a heavy rain event, 17-year-old Michael Lawson and 17-year-old Taoufik Maknani drowned in the Ausable River.

Nash shows us a graph of the water levels in the Ausable River.

"You can see the curve. It starts to go back down again, but even three or four days after it rained it's still higher than when it started," said Nash.

Investigators believe high waters may have been a factor in the teens' deaths.

It doesn't have to rain in your backyard for water levels and currents to change.

"You look up the mountains, it's cloudy and rainy out there, well what happens is that water will travel downstream," said Nash.

The Bolton Potholes is a place that draws a lot of swimmers because of views like these; it's a pretty sight, but it can be a very dangerous location.

Still some swimmers are willing to take their chances.

"I never go alone, tell people where you're going and be safe about it," said Rosemary Barrows, from Westford.

If you are not willing to give up your favorite swimming hole, Nash has some advice.

Nash says not to go swimming after heavy rain. Never swim alone. Avoid swimming under the influence of alcohol and keep cell phones nearby.

Even with these precautions, swimming in moving water poses a threat. So people like Nash choose another route.

"I'll stick to the lake where it's nice and quiet," said Nash

While swimming in stronger currents poses the most danger this time of the year, Nash also says that it's possible to get hypothermia if you stay in cooler bodies of water for long periods of time.


Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.