Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Illinois River conditions expected for coming weekend, August 6-8, 2010


The Weather Forecast calls for temperatures to fall into the mid-90’s by this weekend. Given that skies will be overcast to partly cloudy with temperatures within seasonal norm’s and that water levels and flows will be slightly above historic conditions for this time period of the year, this weekend should shape up to be a great weekend for families wanting to take that last float trip before area schools resume this next week.  
Current Conditions as of 9:00AM Wednesday, August 4, 2010:

Illinois River
Water Temperature is 69.26º F
Savoy / ARK Hwy Bridge – Level 2.82ft and discharge 42 cubic feet per second (cfs). Level Slowly Falling
ARK Hwy 16 Bridge – Level 5.61ft and discharge 264cfs.  Level Slowly Falling
ARK Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 3.04ft and discharge 187cfs. Level Steady
Watts / US Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 2.37ft and discharge 264cfs. Level Steady
Based on 54 years of record, average water level should be 1.88ft and discharge 175 cubic feet per second on this date at Watts/US Hwy 59 Bridge Gaging Station.
Chewey Bridge – 4.62ft and discharge 301cfs. Level Steady
Tahlequah / US Hwy 62 Bridge – Level 2.90ft and discharge 389cfs. Level Steady Based on 74 years of record, average water level should be 2.60ft and discharge 225 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 389cfs today at 9:00AM, then 450 X 389 = 175,050 gallons is flowing by the Tahlequah Gage every one minute.

Barren Fork Creek
Dutch Mills / ARK Hwy 59 Bridge – Level 1.26ft and discharge 8.50cfs. Level Steady
Eldon / OK Hwy 51 Bridge – Level 5.36ft and discharge 82cfs. Level Steady
Based on 61 years of record, average water level should be 5.30ft and discharge 52 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 4.44ft and discharge 10.27cfs. Level Steady
Flint Creek Springtown, AR – 3.56ft and 4.14cfs. Level Steady
US Hwy 412 Bridge (East of Kansas, OK) – Level 6.17ft and discharge 49cfs. Level Steady
Based on 50 years of record, average water level should be 6.10ft and discharge 33 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 6th 7AM – 2.30ft
Saturday August 7th 7AM – 2.30ft
Sunday August 8th 7AM – 2.30ft

Illinois River at Tahlequah (US 62 Bridge- Tahlequah, OK - Cherokee County)
Friday August 6th 7AM – 2.80ft
Saturday August 7th 7AM – 2.80ft
Sunday August 8th 7AM – 2.80ft

Flint Creek at Kansas (US 412 Bridge- Kansas, OK - Delaware County)
Friday August 6th 7AM – 6.10ft
Saturday August 7th 7AM – 6.10ft
Sunday August 8th 7AM – 6.10ft

Barren Fork Creek (SH 51 Bridge – Eldon, OK – Cherokee County)
Friday August 6th 7AM – 5.30ft
Saturday August 7th 7AM – 5.30ft
Sunday August 8th 7AM – 5.30ft

The National Weather Service-Tulsa Office is forecasting for the Illinois River Basin this Weekend:
  • Friday, August 6th High 94ºF and Low 74ºF , Partly Cloudy with 40% Chance of Thunderstorms and light winds out of the Northeast at 5mph. UV 7;
  • Saturday, August 7th High 94ºF and Low 76ºF, Partly Cloudy with winds out of the Southeast 5-10mph. UV 8; and, 
  • Sunday, August 8th High 97ºF and Low 74ºF, Partly Cloudy with winds out of the South at 5-10mph. UV 9.
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.

Other considerations for a safe float trip:

  • Be sure to inform the commercial flotation device operation if you or anyone in your party are a first-time or novice floater(s) so that they may pair you with an experienced paddler/floater or float you in a raft so there is a lesser chance for capsizing;
  • Wear a personal flotation device at all times;
  • Never swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions;
  • Do not float when river levels and discharge flows are higher than normal or at flood stage;
  • If you capsize, stay with your flotation device on the upstream side. Resist the urge to grab a fixed object don't get pinned between the flotation device and a rock or tree;
  • When tired, take a break on a gravel bar to relax;
  • Take a shorter length float trip (especially in rafts and inner tubes) when river levels are at Summer-time lows and winds are out of the South greater than 10mph;
  • Do not dive into the river from bridges, bluffs, streambanks and trees;
  • Do not swing on rope swings and jump into the water as there may be submerged logs and tree branches that could cause bodily harm;
  • Be sure to bring sunglasses, extra cover up clothing, hat and suntan lotion. The sun reflecting off the water will give a person without sunglasses a headache and the extra clothing gives an opportunity not to sunburn;
  • Be sure to take water, tea, Gatorade, other thirst-quenching drinks and peanut butter crackers or similar snacks. Try to avoid beer and soda pops as they tend to dehydrate the body and alcohol impairs judgment;
  • Be sure to wear river wading shoes to ensure no cuts to your feet;
  • Never take anything on your float trip that you don't want to lose. Check your car keys with the commercial flotation device operation for safe keeping;
  • Respect the rights of fishermen and private property owners;
  • Camp only in designated areas. Avoid being trapped by rising water against bluffs or on gravel bars;
  • Do not tie flotation devices together as it against the law and violators are subject to fine;
  • Do not use profanity;
  • Do not use glass and Styrofoam containers;
  • Do not litter;
  • Shower with soap and water after swimming;
  • Wash cuts and scrapes with clean water and soap after swimming;
  • Wear ear plugs;
  • Wear swim goggles;
  • Take children to the restroom frequently;
  • Use swim diapers on infants;
  • Stay away from any area that has floating debris, oil sheens or dead fish;
  • Do not swim after a heavy rain;
  • Do not swim in water with a temperature greater than 80ºF;
  • Do not swim if you have cuts or scrapes;
  • Do not swim near storm drains;
  • Do not swim in stagnant (unmoving) water;
  • Do not swim in water with a green surface scum; and,
  • Do not ingest water.
Always Pack Out What You Pack In
Be Sure To Recycle and Dispose of Your Trash Properly

Trash bags are available to campers and floaters “free-of-charge” from Commercial Flotation Device Operations, River Rangers and Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Headquarters Building.

For questions or additional information, feel free to contact us at the below information.

"Float and swim smart from the start by wearing a Lifejacket (aka: PFD/personal flotation device) at all times while floating, swimming or wading"  

Thank you,

Ed Fite, Administrator
Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission
PO Box 292
Tahlequah, OK 74465-0292
Office (918) 456-3251
Fax (918) 456-8466


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