By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

The first weekend of 80-degree days is on its way to Lewis County beginning Friday.

“We just wanted to make sure everybody was aware that summer is coming. It should be here on Saturday,” said Erika Katt, coordinator for Lewis County Division of Emergency Management, during a Wednesday morning meeting.

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures into the 80s for Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s high predicted to be around 94.

While those may seem like blistering temperatures to Southwest Washingtonians, Katt warned that residents shouldn’t immediately jump in the rivers to cool off.

Warm air can disguise the dangers posed by the swift, cold bodies of water in the area.

“Make sure you wear your life jackets,” Katt said. “Even experienced folks can get hypothermia and have complications.”

According to the National Weather Service, cold water drains body heat up to four times faster than cold air. Even on warm days, when a person hits cold water, “cold shock” can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. 

“The sudden gasp and rapid breathing alone creates a greater risk of drowning even for confident swimmers in calm waters,” states the weather service website.

For those who do choose to go swimming this weekend, Katt recommended keeping a close eye on kids and having all swimmers wear life vests, no matter their experience level.

“Stay safe and keep cool,” Katt said. “And enjoy the sun.”

The warm weather also increases fire risk. People in wooded areas especially should be aware of wildfire prevention programs and techniques, including keeping dry brush away from the house, using mulch to maintain wet soil, planting fire-resistant flora, watering plants to hold more humidity, and keeping woodpiles, propane tanks and other fuel as far from structures as possible.

For more tips on fire safety, visit

Lewis County residents can stay apprised of emergencies in their neighborhoods by signing up for text or email alerts at

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