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Sunshine's inspiration to become heat and perspiration

Weather service advises people to be careful in cold rivers
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Steve Walters took a splash Tuesday afternoon but it wasn’t into the American River. The Cool resident was taking advantage of the warm, comfortable weather that was ideal for using his watercolors to paint the Tahoe Club on High Street in Downtown Auburn, he said. “I like to paint outside always and it’s beautiful weather today,” Walters said. Starting tomorrow the Auburn area will begin to heat up with temperatures forecasted to reach the mid to upper 90s by Saturday. “It’s getting to be late spring so it’s not completely unusual, but heat might be approaching record levels by Saturday,” said George Cline, a forecaster for the National Weather Service division in Sacramento. According to the National Weather Service, an “unusually strong” high-pressure ridge will build into Northern California causing temperatures to rise 20 degrees above seasonal norms. Cities in the central valley and delta region might experience 100 degree weather while the foothills is expected to peak at the upper 80s and 90s this weekend, Cline said. Walters said by later this week he won’t be outside with his watercolors because they will dry up in the heat. Greenwood’s Kyla Hamlin and her family, however, will be taking in the sun at the American River confluence by Highway 49 almost every day, she said. The foursome, including almost 2-year-old Jonathan Smith, 5-year-old Jacob Smith, and their dad, Jake Smith, was out playing in the water Tuesday afternoon. “It’s just beautiful and relaxing to come down here,” Hamlin said. “It’s a good place to have fun.” Jake Smith added that the family recently moved back to the state from Washington. He said the almost constant rainy weather there prevented them from doing many outdoor activities they enjoy, including swimming in the river. Now, Jake Smith said he is looking forward to the heat. “It doesn’t get anywhere near as hot in the rivers in Washington,” Jake Smith said. “I love coming down here and cooling off on a hot day.” Cline cautioned that river-goers should be aware that despite the hot temperature outside, river water ranges from about 40 degrees to 50 degrees. He said the warm weather will accelerate the snow melt, which feeds into area streams, rivers and reservoirs. “It will be really cold because of recent snow melt,” Cline said. “Later on in the summertime it moderates a little bit but the creeks and rivers tend to stay a little cool up here.” Cline said the cold water could cause hypothermia. Exhaustion or unconsciousness could set in as early as 30 to 60 minutes for an adult and faster in children. He suggested people watch how long they are in the river. For dealing with the heat, Cline advised that people drink plenty of fluids and keep outdoor physical exertion to a minimum during peak heat hours. Besides playing in the river with her family, Hamlin said she has one other surefire way to survive the impending summer heat. “I can always come down to the river almost every day,” Hamlin said. “But of course I’ll be using the air conditioning in my car.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.