With this years extremely cold, record breaking spring temperatures, it might be a bit longer before a plunge in a northern lake is safe. We will often experience an occasional May temperature where the mercury rises as high as a sultry July day, making the water in those 10,000+ lakes look very enticing. But beware. In order to swim safely, the water temperatures need to be at least 70 degrees. Most Minnesota lakes do not reach a 70 degree temperature until late May. Some lakes in the northern part of the state may not get out of the 60's all summer season!
It is important for residents and visitors to our great state to understand the affects of hypothermia and cold water are not limited to the falling through ice crusted water in the winter. Spring temperatures in a Minnesota lake or river are just as problematic. Knowing the exact temperature of body of water is essential before taking a dip to cool off to determine how long a person can safely swim outside. Keep in mind, a low lake water temperature will affect children more quickly due to their smaller size. Their bodies will not be able to withstand the cold temperatures as long as an adult can.
Coldwaterwarning.com is a website developed in memory of Brian James Jacobson, a young Minnesota boy who died on April 30, 2004 when he chose to swim in a cold Minnesota lake. He was a healthy 9 year old and good swimmer. It is believed his abilities were completely stalled in the frigid water. This is a sad reminder of how dangerous cold water swimming can be.
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