A spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard in California says he expects to see a spike in drowning deaths this year as rivers run swift and cold.
Paul Newman says research shows cold water shocks the body and spurs a gasp reflex.
"You're going to choke, panic, hyperventilate - all underwater - and it throws off all your coordination, it throws off everything," says Newman. "The Panic completely destroys your ability to self rescue, if you're not careful, and that's when people drown. They drown instantly."
Newman urges the use of life vests as the number one way to save a life.