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High waters bring warnings for Rappahannock swimmers

Friday - 5/27/2011, 6:28am  ET

WASHINGTON - We often hear warnings about the Potomac River, but this holiday weekend, there's a warning for another popular river in our area.

People come to the banks of Virginia's Rappahannock River from all across the region. It's beautiful, the water is cool and there are some good beaches. But in the last 30 years, 85 people have drown in the river.

This year, with all the rain, the water is running dangerously high.

"It's very high and it's moving very rapidly, bringing all this debris downstream to where people like to swim," Stafford County spokeswoman Cathy Riddle says. "On the surface, the Rappahannock may appear very calm. You may not see the tree branches that are under the water. You may not see the slippery rocks."

Riddle says she wants visitors to come and have a good time, but urges them to stay in designated swimming areas and use life preservers when boating.

That's good advice on any body of water.

WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

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