Temps warm, water cold, dangerous

SEATTLE --  This weekend, the area is about to see a sunny stretch of weather with summer-like temps in the 80s.

“I think it’s absolutely gorgeous out and I think it’s about time,” Kari Minns said.

A lot of people will be drawn to the water this weekend, especially lakes and rivers and rescue workers are bracing for emergency calls.

Chief Greg Smith of Mountain View Fire and Rescue, expects a lot of people to grab rafts and tubes and plunge into the Green River.

“They stop at Wal-Mart and buy a $20 blow-up raft and they come down here and put their cooler full of beer in the raft,” Smith said. “They get on the river and expect to have a pleasant day, but a lot of times it turns into a tragedy.”

While it will feel like summer weather this weekend, lake and river temps are still at winter levels -- the Green River is hovering around 45 degrees.

Tim Percival, also with Mountain View Fire and Rescue, said if you fall in, “the water snaps your energy, you can barely breathe, and it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Rivers are also running high and fast.

Around this time last year, Everett City Councilman Drew Neilson, an experienced rafter, drowned in Green River. The water was rushing so fast it ripped his life jacket off him.

But rescuers said if you’re on the water, your most important piece of equipment is a life jacket. They also cautioned that you should also know the water conditions and know your limits. Their best advice is that at this time of the year, it’s really better to play near the water and not in it.