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Thread: River flow vs. River stage?

  1. #1

    Default River flow vs. River stage?

    I have a quick question hopefully someone can help me out. Every time I float the Kenai river I check on the river flow. The reference that I use shows a drastic increase in the flow of the river right now. It also says that the stage is steady. I understand that the stage is how high the river has risen or it's current gauge reading. But since the river flow has risen so much does that mean the water is higher on the bank than normal, and how is it possible for the flow to increase so much and not effect the actual height of the river?
    Thanks, TIGHT LINES!!

  2. #2
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    The stages they are talking about refer to specific river levels ie. normal, action, minor and major flood stages.
    While the river level is on the rise (I assume you are talking middle river as the upper is dropping) it is expected to peak below the action stage (the stage where preparations for flood are made).

    Here are the 2 sites I use for info.

    This one for daily info.
    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/uv...cd=00065,00060

    And this one for showing me the predicted peaks and whether it's expected to reach flood stage or not..
    http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydro...afc&gage=skla2

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    Member jockomontana's Avatar
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    Default check your source

    generally speaking, river flow ie.- discharge, is the volume of water over a period of time that passes a gaging station, measured in cfs - cubic feet per second. River stage, is the actual height on the gague, measured in feet. Both are a means of measurement to reference the real - actual - height and volume, to the historical and mean daily data. Its possible that the hydro gage measuring cfs has some mechanical issues... could be channelization at location, leaf blockage, sediment damage, or simply worn out over time. check your souce for data. USGS maintains a website for real-time water data for most active gaging stations in Alaska and all other states.hope this helps.

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    Member H20Dogg's Avatar
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    In a wide channel the smallest increse in stage can mean more flow you are increasing the area more. In a smaller channel you need a greater increase in stage to get more flow. It's a logrithmic regression curve, so depeding where you are at on the curve will depend on how much of an increase in stage will increase your flow. If you need more info PM me I work for the USGS and deal with the data daily.

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    H20, I have a question for you.For what ever reason I check a few different rivers and on the Situk river I see something I don't see on others like kenai. What does gauge height,feet,radar mean? I never see radar on others and what is the height number based on as the Situk is a small river yet the height numbers run around 65 + -?
    Here is the Situk page
    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/uv...cd=00065,00060

  6. #6

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    This is all great and very helpful information guys, I really appreciate it

  7. #7
    Member H20Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by power drifter View Post
    H20, I have a question for you.For what ever reason I check a few different rivers and on the Situk river I see something I don't see on others like kenai. What does gauge height,feet,radar mean? I never see radar on others and what is the height number based on as the Situk is a small river yet the height numbers run around 65 + -?
    Here is the Situk page
    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/uv...cd=00065,00060
    Sorry I never replied! Radar means that there is a radar beem shooting at the water surface to track its rise and fall. Gage hight numbers are completely arbitrary! Some can have over 100 and some are even negative times i.e. Chena River at Fairbanks. Since the depth on a river at a given cross section is variable, elevation of the water surface(gage hieght) is used to determine the discharge.

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