The deaths of three young tourists who were swept over a 317-foot waterfall this week in Yosemite are far from the only water-related deaths to hit the West this year. Rising temperatures have caused record snowfall to melt, engorging waterways with sometimes tragic consequences. In Montana, at least 10 people have drowned so far this year compared to just three in all of 2010; another man is missing and presumed drowned after trying to retrieve an oar that fell out of his raft Sunday.
The numbers keep adding up: At least 11 people have drowned in Utah waterways since April; five people have died after being swept into Colorado's raging rivers and creeks; swollen rivers in Wyoming have killed at least half a dozen people this summer; more than a dozen people have died along the Kern River in California's southern San Joaquin Valley. Tuesday's deaths bring to six the number of people who have died in water accidents this year at Yosemite, where breathtaking waterfalls and rivers are at their most turbulent level in years. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)