A frustrating Fourth of July is in store for some Twin Cities families. Several lakes and rivers have dangerously high water levels in addition to storm debris floating on or just below the surface. The water is moving so fast that the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis and near Minnehaha Park has been off limits to all boaters for the last ten days. The locks for commercial barges just reopened Wednesday, but recreational boating is still prohibited.
Despite the relief from the heat on Saturday, many people have been hitting the water to cool off from this recent heat wave. So far, 25 people have drowned in non-boating accidents. Last year at this time, there were only 16.
Three locations on Lake Minnetonka will provide free life jackets for the rest of the summer. Boaters can borrow life jackets through the Kid’s Don’t Float Program, courtesy of the Safe Kids Northwest Metro Coalition, North Memorial Medical Center, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.