As Tahoe’s weather warms, officials urge cold-water caution
May 7, 2013
TAHOE/TRUCKEE — These days, people can be seen paddleboarding and kayaking on Lake Tahoe and various watering holes, taking advantage of the area's recent spring-like weather.
With that, officials are urging residents and visitors to the Tahoe/Truckee region to be careful the next few weeks due to area waters having cold temperatures and swift currents from snowmelt runoff.
"Although the outdoor temperatures will be warmer, our area rivers and lakes remain cold. Our area rivers remain in the 40s and 50s," the Truckee Police Department said in a recent advisory.
Lake Tahoe's temperature as of Tuesday morning off the U.S. Coast Guard's pier in Tahoe City was 47.6 degrees, according to University of California, Davis, measurements.
The cold water can cause hypothermia to set in quickly, said Mark Regan, assistant fire marshal for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.
"If exposed to cold waters, even experienced swimmers can lose muscle-control very quickly, and fast-flowing water will make rescues difficult," according to the TPD.
To stay safe, residents should tell someone where they are going and when they will return if entering water, always wear a life vest and keep a close eye on children in or near water, officials said. Further, alcohol consumption accelerates the onset and progression of hypothermia.
"Take extra caution and be prepared," Regan advised.