The U.S. Forest Service is urging visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests to avoid swimming in the creeks, rivers and streams until water levels recede. Visitors should also avoid climbing near waterfalls.
Water levels are more than a foot above normal in some waterways, and the combination of high water levels and strong currents pose a safety risk to visitors. Three swimming-related fatalities occurred in the Pisgah National Forest in July, and others have occurred in the region because of high water.
With a wetter-than normal year, and already high streams and rivers, visitors should also be aware of the potential for flash flooding. Forest officials are asking visitors to check the National Weather Service forecast before they leave home, and to be alert for changing weather conditions while in the forest.
Devices like a weather radio, a terrestrial radio, a smart-phone app or a cell phone mobile alert can help visitors stay tuned-in before and during their outdoor activities.