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First responders say to avoid streams, creeks that are running fast after heavy rains

After a recent drowning in a creek that swelled after heavy rain and thunderstorms, local first responders are urging the public to use caution when around them.

“When the flood waters rise, there’s debris in the water,” Ithaca Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Basher told “The water temperatures may not be as warm as you think, so hypothermia can set in.”

He was speaking after emergency crews recovered two people that drowned in the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet in Newfield. They were swept under the water.

“In this case it was just the volume of water was too much for somebody and we deal with this quite frequently and moving water is no joke,” he added. “It’s uncontrolled so it may be completely calm and safe one day and then we get a large rain storm and it changes the whole dynamic. The waterfalls may look inviting, but you don’t know what’s underneath them.”

He offered some tips for those who are heading out this week as water levels remain high.

First and foremost- stay on marked trails. Whether you’re walking, hiking, or swimming- do so with another person if at all possible. Another important item- swimming in designated areas- not in unregulated creeks or streams. Lastly, know where you are in case the need arises to call for help- and let people know where you’re going.

UPDATE: Two people drown in Cayuga Inlet