Corps reminds lake users to consider water conditions this spring

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reminding lake users to consider the risks of cold water conditions such as hypothermia during spring weather.

Water temperatures are reaching the low 50s at most of the Kansas City District’s 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, and that means the crappie, white bass and walleye will be in a frenzy. Even though the air temperature outside might climb into the 80s, the cold water temperature still poses a threat of hypothermia.

Whether fishing from the shoreline or on a boat, you could easily end up in the water with a simple loss of balance. Fishermen should dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature, and always wear a life jacket.

USACE urges fisherman to expect the unexpected and consider these four additional cold water facts this spring while fishing.

  • The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air.
  • Cold-water immersion follows four stages starting with cold shock, followed by swimming failure, then hypothermia and finally post-rescue collapse.
  • Most cold-water drowning fatalities are attributed to the first two stages, not hypothermia.
  • A sudden unexpected fall into cold water causes an involuntary gasp (or torso) reflex. It takes less than half a cup of water in your lungs to drown. Your gasp reflex is delayed when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can lead to a last breath of water, instead of air.

For more information, contact the Kansas City District’s public affairs office at 816-389-3486.

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