As daytime highs hover in the upper 90s, throngs of people seek relief in the cool waters of regional rivers. Before taking a dip, be aware dangerous conditions may still exist below the water’s surface. The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) said there have been 19 river-related deaths statewide since April. The South Yuba River in Nevada County has claimed the lives of three young men.

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Upwards of 700,000 people visit the watershed surrounding California State Parks Sierra District, according to Chief Ranger Matthew Green. “You’re in the outdoors; you’re in a wild scenic river system. But of course there are the slips, trips and misjudgments of the speed of the water,” Green said. “On the surface, it might seem calm. On the subsurface, there is a strong undercurrent. People don’t see that.” Green estimates the South Yuba River might be safe to enter in August. Typically August is when water levels begin to lower. Common sense practices like entering the water with a life jacket is one measure swimmers should take to help keep safe.