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Despite warm weather this week, water temperatures are still dangerously cold

Portland could reach 80 degrees for the first time this year on Wednesday, but water temperatures are in the high 50s at best.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Tuesday brought one of the nicest days the area has seen this spring, with daytime highs reaching the upper 70s across the Rose City, and there’s a chance Portland could see the first 80 degree day of the year later on Wednesday. 

Many people may be heading to the water — but just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean it’s going to be warm enough to be jumping in area lakes and rivers over the next couple of days. Both the Willamette and the Columbia Rivers are still running on the cold side.

“We’re still running right around 57 degrees on the Columbia and Willamette River, so our waters are considered cold waters and can be a shock to the system,” said Sergeant Stephen Dangler with Multnomah County Sheriff's River Patrol. He added that the Sandy River is even cooler, with temperatures still in the 40s.

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The river patrol hopes people use common sense as the weather starts to warm up — and that means making sure people have a life jacket nearby if they're near the water and going through all safety equipment before making a trip out to the lake or river for the day. 

Another thing boaters need to pay attention to if they'll be on the water this week is debris that’s getting washed down river. Our KGW crew was along the Columbia River on Tuesday afternoon and saw a huge debris flow with an uprooted tree. There was also a sunken sailboat.

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“Just make sure you’re paying attention to what’s going on — not only what’s in front of you, but what’s all around you,” said Dangler.

While water temperatures are on the chilly side right now, the temperatures of local rivers and lakes will start to warm up later this summer, when it's comfortable to swim. 

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