Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard issues warning about area waterways and gorges.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office is urging everyone to avoid kayaking, canoeing and other water activities in the area’s creeks and rivers. With the amount of rain predicted to fall throughout the area, water levels are expected to rise rapidly creating dangerous and even deadly conditions.

Water levels in Cattaraugus Creek, especially within the Zoar Valley stretch, can experience reach as high as 6 feet above normal.

The depth of the water, combined with the volume, will create treacherous conditions that will not allow for rapid rescue responses.

In addition to the increased water levels, the water temperature will remain dangerously cold hastening hypothermia once someone gets wet.

Further, individuals are asked to stay away from valley edges and cliff rims. The heavy rains, coupled with the thawing ground, will soften and loosen the soil increasing the likelihood of collapse and ground slides.