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Creeks, rivers deadly during rainy conditions

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Updated: 8/12/2013 11:41 pm
UNION COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) -- They look inviting and fun, even relaxing, but they can be deadly: the hundreds of creeks, streams and even rivers located throughout northeast Mississippi.

"You get an inch and a half or two inches of rain north of us, and the little creeks take all that water, plus the runoff here, and in just a matter of 30 minutes to an hour, the creek that you were wading in that was knee-deep is now out to the bean fields and everywhere else," Union County EMA Director Curt Clayton said. "You don't have time to get out."

"It can fill up quickly, and just be raging. [It's] very swift water," Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said.

Debris left against a bridge in Union County shows a water line several feet higher than Monday's level.

And one of the most popular spots for swimming in the county -- a section of the Tallahatchie River near the Pinedale community -- also remains a dangerous one.

In 2010, a 28-year-old man drowned after jumping into the river from a nearby bridge.

"That's still one too many," Edwards said. "We don't want to have any deaths from drownings, and [people] need to be very careful."

On Sunday, a little girl was swept away from the current in a creek near County Road 185 in Lee County.

However, she was able to get out of the water without injury.

Clayton says what's in the water serves to be just as hazardous as the currents themselves.

"Trees have been in the water, logs, barbed wire fences [and even] air conditioners," Clayton said. "We were actually in Prentiss County doing a dive and there were air conditioners coming down the water."

Clayton recommends life vests or floats attached to ropes as a safety precaution for those who swim in area creeks or streams.

He also said being mindful of flash floods is a must.

"Most of it is just accidental and carelessness for those who are in the water," Clayton added.

Statistics from the Mississippi State Department of Health indicate 31 deaths statewide in 2011 from drowning or submersion in natural bodies of water.
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