Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
James Gallagher, DES: (603) 271-1961
Jim VanDongen, Emergency Management: (603) 223-3641
August 14, 2008
Safety Advisory Issued for Swimmers, Canoeists, Kayakers:
N.H. River Conditions Remain Dangerous
CONCORD, N.H. -- A safety advisory urging extreme caution to be used by swimmers, canoeists and kayakers on the state's rivers and streams was issued jointly today by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the New Hampshire Department of Safety's office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Weather conditions expected over the coming week could pose a "perfect storm" of potential danger, according to Major Tim Acerno of N.H. Fish and Game Law Enforcement. More rain is expected by Friday night, along with thunderstorms that could roll in with a weekend front; this would intensify already-high water levels in rivers and streams around the state. The forecast then calls for sunshine starting on Sunday, ushering in days of hot, humid weather - conditions that often encourage residents and visitors to seek relief in water recreation. This combination has proved deadly in recent weeks; four people have drowned in New Hampshire rivers and streams this summer, and emergency personnel have responded to numerous situations.
"We can't stress enough the need for people to be aware of the dangerous conditions in New Hampshire's rivers and streams," said Acerno. "Current is stronger and water levels are much faster than they usually would be at this time of year. They are at flood-stage level stream flows in some parts of the state. The problem has not gone away, and more rain will only add to the problem."
In an effort to control flooding, the Department of Environmental Services has been steadily releasing water from dams. While critical for flood control, this also has increased water levels in some waterways.
"It's tempting for people to seek out the waterways to cool off from the summer heat, but this is not a normal summer. Be aware that river and stream conditions are not at typical August levels. We strongly advise everyone to use the greatest caution possible around rivers and streams," said Acerno.
Acerno stressed the following safety guidelines:
- If you want to go swimming, use designated beaches and swimming areas.
- Be aware that it is easy to underestimate the strength of current when looking at a river or stream from shore.
- Be aware that summer algae growth and high water make conditions very slippery on rocks near waterways.
- Canoe or kayak in areas without fast water; watch for submerged debris.
- Always wear Personal Flotation Devices when canoeing, kayaking or boating.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.WildNH.com.
Find safe hiking tips at www.hikeSafe.com.
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