Despite warm air temperatures, beware cold lakes and rivers — they can be deadly

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MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. — Unseasonably warm temperatures will send many people to Western Washington’s many lakes and rivers, but officials are warning people to be careful.

On Friday morning, a swift water rescue team in King County practiced life-saving drills on the Cedar River near Maple Valley. Officials say they will inevitably use these skills in a life or death situation this year.

It will be warmer than usual in the region this weekend but water temperatures are dangerously low.

Kent Fire Capt. Kyle Ohashi said, "The water is typically about 48-50 degrees. About the same temperatures you would find in Puget Sound."

Authorities say people should swim or boat in pairs or groups, always wear life jackets and never mix water recreation with alcohol.

Parents should also keep a close eye on children when they play in or near the open water. Almost 75% of drownings involving children occur in open water, not in pools or bathtubs, officials say.

"Kids depend on parents to take care of them to give them guidance," Ohasi said. "So if your kids are on any body of water -- swimming pools, lakes, rivers -- number one,  always supervise them."

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