After the Storm

Now that most of Wisconsin has emerged from last night’s storm, we’re starting to see the impact on water levels.  Northern Wisconsin has been dumping water into the river for about 12 hours now and all of the tributaries heading south are starting to do the same.  We’re going to see a large jump in water levels, possibly up to 20kcfs (less than 15kcfs is ideal but we’ll give the option for trips to around 17kcfs).  While it’s too soon to know where water levels will top out, I’m currently more concerned about the when.  

River forecasts have been moving up the timing for the past 24 hours.  We’re now starting to see actual numbers coming out of the upstream gauges, Castlerock in particular.  With where it’s at right now, we’ll be close to that 15kcfs mark and that’ll begin to arrive here on our stretch of river sometime Saturday and rise throughout the day/evening.  What I’m really waiting to see is if we have another big jump come out of that Castlerock dam.  It’s possible they are going big and early in order to moderate flows for the rest of the weekend which means water levels will be up, but not so much that you’ll lose all the sandbars in the middle of the night.  Either way, we won’t know for sure until 10pm tonight when whatever changes happen after that won’t get to us until Sunday when most people are off the water.

If you’ve got a trip this weekend and you’re wondering how this impacts you – if numbers stay as they are we’ll be okay to send out trips.  Make sure to choose your sandbar campsite well.  Current forecasts would have water levels start to stabilize by late Saturday evening.  Worth having a member of your group check the river every couple hours Saturday night so you don’t wake up to any surprises (paddle or stick stuck into the ground at waters edge can help you track the change in depth.  Definitely pull your canoes up to your tent, and maybe even tie them to the tent. It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year so be mentally prepared to cozy up with other groups camping out on the higher sandbars.  Check back here Friday morning (you can also expect an email update) to see if anything has gotten worse.  Given the uncertainty and rising waters overnight, trips can also be cancelled for a full refund (reply to your confirmation emails to do so).

The graph below is the one I’ll be watching today – waiting to see if/when we jump higher than the 12kcfs it’s currently at before 10pm tonight.  I’ll be out on the water this weekend with a group as well so this time we’re really all in it together.