With mild weather ahead, IFD warns Hoosiers to avoid White River

Battalion Chief Rita Reith with IFD. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IFD has a warning for Hoosiers looking to take advantage of mild weather: Don’t go in the White River.

The White River is moving at a torrid clip of nine to 11 knots. How fast is that?

“Right at about one knot, a well-conditioned swimmer will be stationary swimming actively,” said Lt. Scott Huff, a member of the IFD dive team.

The dive team won’t go in the water when it’s moving at speeds over three knots. So even if central Indiana sees some spring-like weather on Saturday and Sunday, authorities urge you not to go kayaking.

“February weather being in the 50s in Indiana is nice, and we love it, but we’re just asking that you find something else to do,” said Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

Last summer the river’s current was a little faster, and IFD averaged nearly one rescue per day for more than two weeks.

When the water moves like it will be over the weekend, it becomes dangerous for anyone, Including the trained dive team.

“The water rises within seconds, and it can totally change the dynamics of the rescue,” said Huff.

But it’s beyond the river. The possibility of rain could leave some spots with standing water.

“What we’re trying to do is message out: ‘If it’s predictable, it’s preventable,’” said Reith.

Underpasses are the areas of particular concern. Only a couple inches can cause drivers to lose control of their cars. But standing water can hide another danger: the potholes littering Indianapolis.

“We just want you to turn around and find another route,” said Reith.

IFD has two dive teams ready to go in case of trouble, but they hope their precautions and reminders will keep people smart and safe.