Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Floating conditions on the Illinois River as predicted for coming weekend


This Weekend is the 18th Annual Illinois River Balloon Fest in Tahlequah. Also, be sure to mark your calendars on Saturday, October 16th to attend this year’s OSRC “Illinois RiverFest.”

As Illinois River water levels and flows are now at seasonal lows, it is recommended that individuals planning to utilize rafts or inner tubes for their float trips should opt for taking shorter length trips given river conditions. In the event individuals chose to take a raft or inner tube float trip that covers a river reach 10 miles or longer, it is recommended that those float trips should be launched prior to 9:00a.m., to allow adequate time to complete them safely and during daylight hours.   

Current Conditions as of 8:00a.m. Wednesday, August 18, 2010:

Illinois River
Water Temperature is 70.52º F
Savoy / ARK Hwy Bridge – Level 2.68ft and discharge 27 cubic feet per second (cfs). Level Steady
ARK Hwy 16 Bridge – Level 5.19ft and discharge 111cfs. Level Steady
ARK Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 2.74ft and discharge 106cfs. Level Steady
Watts / US Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 2.08ft and discharge 194cfs. Level Steady
Based on 54 years of record, average water level should be 1.85ft and discharge 172 cubic feet per second on this date at Watts/US Hwy 59 Bridge Gaging Station.
Chewey Bridge – 4.39ft and discharge 200cfs. Level Steady
Tahlequah / US Hwy 62 Bridge – Level 2.50ft and discharge 210cfs. Level Steady Based on 74 years of record, average water level should be 2.50ft and discharge 212 cubic feet per second on this date at Tahlequah / US Hwy 62 Bridge Gaging Station.

Cubic Feet per Second (cfs) = 450 X cfs = gallons per minute flowing by a given point (place such as a bridge). Example, if Tahlequah Gage on the Illinois River is 210cfs today at 8:00a.m., then 450 X 210 = 94,500 gallons is flowing by the Tahlequah Gage every one minute.

Barren Fork Creek
Dutch Mills / ARK Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 1.23ft and discharge 6.93cfs. Level Steady
Eldon / OK Hwy 51 Bridge – Level 5.33ft and discharge 71cfs. Level Steady
Based on 61 years of record, average water level should be 5.29ft and discharge 44 cubic feet per second on this date at Eldon / OK Hwy 51 Bridge Gaging Station.

Flint Creek
Sager Creek (upstream of US Hwy 412 Bridge and west of West of Siloam Springs, OK) – Level 4.45ft and discharge 10.69cfs. Level Up Slightly From Last Week
Flint Creek Springtown, AR – 3.54ft and 3.71cfs. Level Steady
US Hwy 412 Bridge (East of Kansas, OK) – Level 6.15ft and discharge 46cfs. Level Steady
Based on 50 years of record, average water level should be 6.10ft and discharge 30 cubic feet per second on this date at US Hwy 412 Bridge Gaging Station.

Estimated Weekend Water Levels:

Illinois River at Watts (US 59 Bridge- Watts, OK - Adair County)
Friday August 20th 7AM – 2.00ft
Saturday August 21st 7AM – 1.90ft
Sunday August 22nd 7AM – 1.90ft

Illinois River at Tahlequah (US 62 Bridge- Tahlequah, OK - Cherokee County)
Friday August 20th 7AM – 2.50ft
Saturday August 21st 7AM – 2.50ft
Sunday August 22nd 7AM – 2.50ft

Flint Creek at Kansas (US 412 Bridge- Kansas, OK - Delaware County)
Friday August 20th 7AM – 6.10ft
Saturday August 21st 7AM – 6.10ft
Sunday August 22nd 7AM – 6.10ft

Barren Fork Creek (SH 51 Bridge – Eldon, OK – Cherokee County)
Friday August 20th 7AM – 5.30ft
Saturday August 21st 7AM – 5.30ft
Sunday August 22nd 7AM – 5.30ft

The National Weather Service-Tulsa Office is forecasting for the Illinois River Basin this Weekend:
  • Friday, August 20th High 99ºF and Low 72ºF , Clear Skies with 20% chance of Thunderstorms in the afternoon and winds out of the South 5-10mph. UV 9;
  • Saturday, August 21st High 95ºF and Low 72ºF, Partly Cloudy with 20% chance of Thunderstorms in afternoon and light winds out of the Southwest up to 5mph. UV 7; and, 
  • Sunday, August 22nd High 95ºF and Low 74ºF, Clear Skies with 20% chance of Thunderstorms in the afternoon and light winds out of the West-Southwest in the morning changing to East-Southeast in the afternoon. UV 10.
It is recommended that first-time and novice floaters should only float when accompanied by knowledgeable and experienced floaters.

Oklahoma Law requires children under the age 13 years of age must wear a Lifejacket (aka: PFD/personal flotation device) at all times while floating. 

Always exercise caution when floating and swimming by wearing a LIFEJACKET (aka: PFD/Personal Flotation Device) at all times while floating, swimming or wading.

Floaters should be aware that fallen trees and other debris in the river will present navigational hazards.

Before setting out on any float trip, please consult the Commercial Flotation Device Operation you plan to use as your rental livery for the most up-to-date river conditions and recommendations. Also, be sure to log-on to Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Website: and click on the “48-Hour Recreational Forecast” icon to view an interactive river map that changes colors with elevated river levels and matrix of recommendations at the certain levels.

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