MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After another round of rain this weekend, officials are reminding Minnesotans of the dangers on lakes and rivers when waters are high.

When Robert Duncanson fell out of his canoe, he held onto a tree branch along the river.

But the current was too much, and the branch snapped before help arrived.

The Winona County Sheriff’s Office said the Mississippi River level is at its highest this year and is continuing to rise.

“Once you go in and that current grabs you, you have a hard time. Even if you’re a good swimmer,” Sheriff Dave Brand said.

“It’s much higher than it is and the current is very fast,” Amy Gernes, a seasoned canoeist, said.

Gernes has been canoeing on the Mississippi for 20 years.

She has been stopping by the river periodically to check the water levels as she refuses to go out until it settles down.

“I just feel that the conditions aren’t safe right now,” Gernes said.

It’s a problem that hasn’t just affected the Mississippi River, but several lakes and rivers across Minnesota.

All of Lake Minnetonka has been under a no wake policy since Thursday, until the water level drops eight inches.

“It’s tough to control your and anchor it down. So, it’s very dangerous I wish people would adhere to that,” Brand said.

Duncanson was dragged 50 feet from where he fell in just one day ago.

It’s a reminder to know what you’re dealing with when you’re out on the water.

“Know the river. If you don’t know the river, be careful on where you go. Especially if you don’t know it. Some spots can be really tricky,” David Gernes, or Winona, said.

The Winona County Sheriff expects the river to crest in Winona this week.

He says for now it’s best to stay off the Mississippi, but if you do go always wear a life jacket.


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