City warns people to stay away from river

By: Chris Baylor Email
By: Chris Baylor Email

Despite warnings of flash flooding, people continued to hit the Chippewa River to cool down this weekend but the City of Eau Claire is warning people that might not be the best idea because of high waters and quick currents.

Even though the weather was perfect to float down the Chippewa River. The City of Eau Claire says the river is only about five feet below the downtown flood stage.

"We're going on the river because it's out friend's birthday and it's a tradition so we're not going to let any high waters scare us away,” says tuber Crystal Richardson.

"We've ridden a lot worse water, we'll read it and ride it all the way down," says kayaker Art Syth.

People were jumping in the Chippewa River and whether it was a tube or kayak the city is asking people to be safe. The city even blocked off parts of the bike path along the river that were under water. The fire department says it's on a heighten alert because of the high-water and the fast currents that come with it.

"With the high water they might not be used to it, it's now moving right along so we're always prepared,” says Battalion Chief Duane Grunst.

While some people were out braving the high waters they did notice less people out there with them.

"We saw 15 to 20 people, not too bad," says tuber Sean O'Brien.

"There was people warning us not to go at first, one of our friends didn't go because he was nervous, I don’t think they should be too worried,” says tuber Jordann Dorskey.

In a statement the city’s emergency management teams said the Chippewa Valley has received more than 13 inches of rainfall since May first, with more than six inches falling in the last four days.

With the rain Xcel Energy is also warning people to be careful around dams and spillways. The fire department says it hasn't had to respond to anyone in trouble in the water but the city says it expects the river to hold at these high levels for the next few days.

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  • by stundent2 Location: ec on Jul 12, 2010 at 05:50 AM
    I totally agree student....People just love to voice there comments about how people are so bad and dont think and these people act like they have never done anything when they were told not to...They say its dangerous...well yeah, floating down the river is anytime whether its high or not...but that's why floating is at your own risk...and being a first responder you know what you could be doing to save someone every day...that's a choice they make....People need to just quit acting like there perfect..!
  • by Student Location: ec on Jul 6, 2010 at 10:16 AM
    wow once again someone finds something else to complain about...get a life ppl. We are all grown ups, if we choose to float down the river..we will. We dont need you complaining about wont stop us!
  • by resident Location: eau claire on Jun 28, 2010 at 06:13 AM
    In the winter we are given warnings to stay off the road if at all possible, during really bad weather. Most of us can, some decide they want/need to take the chance to get home,to/from work, or other destinations. Summer brings a whole new set of problems regarding high water and increased speed of current. None of these people that decide they want to float the rivers have anywhere they HAVE to be, to take the river to get there. This is purely for enjoyment. As such, they should be held responsible if things go wrong, and rescue services have to be used. They should be ticketed,plus required to pay for the expense. Im not for charging fees for unpreventable fires and accidents, but being on the river during the most dangerous of times is avoidable, and a choice made by not heeding the obvious dangers.
  • by Bob Location: EC on Jun 28, 2010 at 05:19 AM
    After issuing official warnings, anyone who wishes to ignore them should be required to sign a release and record contact information for next-of-kin. If under 18, parents would be required to sign. All costs for rescue, successful or not, should be born by the idiot that has to be rescued or by their estate.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 28, 2010 at 05:03 AM
    Great points everyone. That's like saying you shouldn't drive when it's too snowy, but if you get in an accident you'll have to foot all the bills of rescuers. People make bad choices, that's one of the reasons we have fire/rescue/etc..
  • by Dave Location: Fall Creek on Jun 27, 2010 at 11:38 PM
    This stretch of river is very dangerous during normal water. You have dead heads, rocks, and some serious currents. I am nervous when in my boat and going up that direction. These people need to really think about what they are doing.
  • by Mike Location: Eau Claire on Jun 27, 2010 at 06:25 PM
    Reminds me of the yahoos who jumped on a piece of ice and were ticked because they were "rescued" from the river. Just wait until someone drowns and there will be a lawsuit because the city didn't post police at Phoenix park to stop people from getting into the river.
  • by Kati Location: Eau Claire on Jun 27, 2010 at 04:58 PM
    Totally agree with the first 3 commenters. In addition, some of the students in the video appear to be using floatation devices for pools, NOT rivers. But of course they're invincible at that age, aren't they?
  • by Janice Location: Cippewa Co. on Jun 27, 2010 at 12:53 PM
    Yes, they are warned to stay out but continue on their merry way. Who pays the cost when rescuers are sent out to save them when they call for help? Sounds like the way the world is going. What is it going to take to wake people up?
  • by resident Location: eau claire on Jun 27, 2010 at 10:50 AM
    Warnings are given for a reason! If those that choose to disregard them find themselves in trouble, then they should be held responsible for the costs to rescue them!!! How dare an adult tell them anything, thats just what it sounds like in this article.
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