Knoxville first responders warn of lake safety as weather warms up

Local News

Spring, sunshine and consistent warm weather are all right around the corner. While you may be sneaking in chances to spend time outside, if you’re anywhere close to water, first responders are warning everyone to be careful.

Summertime traditions are happening a bit earlier. Sonny Cole visited his grandchildren this week and was teaching them how to fish Tuesday morning.

“Thank God winter’s gone. I love all the seasons, but spring and summer are the best,” he said.

While it may be getting warmer outside, the water is still cold.

“Today, it’s been very murky. We’ve had a lot of rain so it makes things very muddy, even your quarries are quite muddy. Temperature wise depends at depth, it could be 70 degrees up top and 40 degrees 20 feet under,” said Jeremiah McLeod, dive team captain for Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad.

Because there are so many unknowns, McLeod warns the water could stress your system. 

“If you’re going to be in the water for a long time and it’s cold, be aware of your exposure. Hypothermia is a real thing and it can happen pretty quick in water. Your body losses heat pretty quickly in water.”

Rescuers say be careful whether you’re boating, kayaking or simply playing. McLeod stresses there’s one thing that’s important to remember no matter the season. 

“Personal floatation device, PFDs, wear them,” he said.

“We’re going to definitely keep a watch on [the waters] at all times. We’re all going to go home together,” said Cole.

Rescuers say because we’ve had so much rain lately, it’s important to not play or drive in flood basins. They say the problem is storm inlets or drains underneath could shift and while the water may look safe on top, underneath the water is moving fast and violently, so it could pull you down.

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