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Rescuers asking northeast Ohioans to stay out of rivers until water levels, speeds reduce

Strong storms that poured across northeast Ohio are still clearing, making for dangerous river conditions.

CLEVELAND — The rain that’s covered Northeast Ohio in recent weeks is still washing away, leaving dangerous conditions in the rivers people often use to kayak.

As a result of the danger, rescuers are asking local residents to refrain from activities in the water to limit risk. The request comes after officials responded to several water rescues in rushing, river waters.

After weeks of stormy weather, many northeast Ohioans were quick to take advantage of Sunday’s good weather. But, while the rain has passed, the water that was dumped hasn’t.

“We come and rent here and there when we have time,” Andrew Achter said.

In parts of greater Cleveland, you’re all clear to cruise the currents. But in areas out east, such as the Painesville area, residents are still being asked to hold off from going into the water.

“Conditions are very, very dangerous. Very serious today,” Painesville Lieutenant Firefighter, Earl Mahoney, said.

Following the rain, rushing waters, clearing to Lake Erie, made the Grand River a dangerous place to float.

“The river is at approximately nine and a half feet. Flood stage being at 10 feet” Mahoney said.

Painesville firefighters spent several hours on Sunday rescuing people.

“We’ve got a lot of novice people on the river that think ‘oh, it might be fun on there,’ and the river is moving too fast,” firefighter and paramedic, Jim Solymosi, said.

Water speed isn’t the only concern: Terrain could flip your watercraft.

“It gets really dicey when the river comes up and you’re not familiar with it,” Solymosi said.

Firefighters reminded Ohioans of two safety measures to always complete before heading to the water any time you plan to go.

“Just make sure someone else knows you’re going to be out for the day,” Solymosi said.

“For sure, make sure you have a life jacket,” Mahoney said.

Rescuers are asking that you stay out of the water for a few more days, as the rainwater will take some time to clear.

* Editor's Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report. 

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