The Grand River Dam Authority and Scenic Rivers Operations have sent out stern advisories Saturday for anyone in the state planning to spend time on the water this weekend.
Based on most current river basin conditions, rafting, canoeing kayaking and floating in inner tubes is strongly discouraged as water levels are on the rise and will be above those recommended by Commercial Flotation Device Operations for safe floating.
Authorities say that water levels and flows will continue to be on the rise after heavy rains fell on the state all day Friday and part of the morning Saturday.
The GRDA and SRO say the Illinois River, Flint Creek and Barren Creek water levels are rising. Several of the bodies of water in those areas are expected to crest and reach flood stage over the weekend.
The following are projections by authorities for crest projections:
• Illinois River at the Watts gage site will crest Saturday evening at what is expected to be a moderate flood level.
• Illinois River at the Chewey gage site will crest early Sunday at a minor flood status.
• Illinois River at the Tahlequah gage site will crest late morning Sunday at a moderate flood stage.
CURRENT LEVELS AND FLOWS
*CFS/Cubic Feet per Second (multiply value (CFS) x 450 = Gallons per Minute (GPM) passing the gage site)
• WATTS GAGE-U.S. 59 HWY BRIDGE – Level/Flow on the Rise
As of 9:00 a.m. has increased to 10.84 Feet and 7,170 CFS (3,226,500 gallons a minute passing the gage)
At 6:00 a.m. was 6.78 Feet and 2,230 CFS (1,003,500 GPM)
Normal for this day is 505 CFS (227,250 GPM).
Flood stage for this gage site is 13.0 Feet.
• CHEWEY GAGE – HAMPTON BRIDGE ON CHEWEY ROAD – Level/Flow on the Rise
As of 9:15 a.m. has increased to 8.46 Feet and 4,690 CFS (2,110,500 gallons a minute passing the gage)
At 6:00 a.m. was 6.78 Feet and 1,920 CFS (864,000 GPM)
Normal for this day 721 CFS (324,450 GPM).
Flood stage for this gage site is 12.0 Feet
• TAHLEQUAH GAGE-U.S. 62 HWY BRIDGE – Level/Flow on the Rise
As of 9:00 a.m. has increased to 8.12 Feet and 3,720 CFS (1,674,000 gallons a minute passing the gage)
At 6:00 a.m. was 7.17 Feet and 2,420 CFS (1,089,000 GPM)
Normal for this day 874 CFS (393,300 GPM).
Flood stage for this gage site is 11.0 Feet
• KANSAS GAGE – U.S. 412 HWY BRIDGE – Level/Flow Cresting Now
As of 9:30 a.m. has increased to 8.68 Feet and 2,960 CFS (1,332,000 gallons a minute passing the gage)
At 6:00 a.m. was 7.77 Feet and 2,420 CFS (549,000 GPM)
Normal for this day 93 CFS (41,850 GPM).
Flood stage for this gage site is 11.0 Feet.
BARREN FORK CREEK
• ELDON GAGE – S.H. 51 HWY BRIDGE – Level/Flow on the Rise
As of 9:15 a.m. 13.20 Feet (Wire-Weight Manual Read and CFS Not Available – Gage Off-Line
Normal for this day 286 CFS (128,700 GPM).
Flood stage for this gage site is 18.0 Feet
*LISTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS REPORT IS A SUMMARY OF ALL ILLINOIS RIVER BASIN GAGE SITES LEVELS AND FLOWS
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FLOATERS, SWIMMERS AND CAMPERS
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, GRDA Police and GRDA - Scenic Rivers Operations Headquarters Building.
• 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.
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