MARSHALL, N.C. (WSPA) – This time of year the western Carolinas are known for their outdoor activities, and weather can play a big role.

We talked with Tyler Donaldson, of French Broad Adventures in Marshall, North Carolina, about how weather can impact river rafting.

“Weather can affect us in many ways,” Donaldson said. “When it rains, we’ll still go out. If thunderstorms roll through, we have to be paying attention to lightning and things like that. So we look at weather pretty much constantly.” 

Along the French Broad River, it’s not just current conditions that need to be watched. River level forecasts are very important. Those river levels, according to Donaldson, can change the experience.

“When we haven’t had rain in a while [the] water’s a little lower, you see more of the rocks and you get some fun rapids,” he said. “When the water comes through, if it rains … we’re going to have a much different weather and water experience.” 

“Every now and again there’s a time when it’s too low to run at all, it’s just not going to be any fun,” Donaldson said. “And obviously at flood levels, we have to pay attention for overall safety. We won’t ever put anyone out if it’s going to be too high.” 

Rocks, both above and below the water, can quickly get you in trouble as the river current flows over and around them. Life jackets are a must; they provide flotation and give others something to grab in case you need to be pulled out. 

“River outfitters, like us, we’ve gone through a lot of training, and there’s a reason that we do that. We want to keep people safe and have fun.”