KANSAS CITY (AP) - Drowning deaths have risen dramatically in both Missouri and Kansas this year.
State officials say that before this weekend, 24 drownings had been reported this year in Missouri, four more than all of last year. And in Kansas, 12 drownings had been reported before this weekend, double the average for an entire year.
The Kansas City Star reports officials in both states say the pleasant summer weather likely has contributed to the increase, with more people venturing out to the states' waterways.
Most of the drownings have occurred in lakes and man-made ponds, not swimming pools.
Water patrol officials warn people to always wear life jackets and to be aware that lakes and ponds often have steep drop-offs that swimmers can't see.