Cali Season Update

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We’re going back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali. At least that’s what boaters are saying as the Sierra’s are boasting some whopping snowpack for the current paddling season. Read on for an update from none other than Gregg Armstrong from All-Outdoors California…

Every year is an adventure in California when it comes to weather and water. When annual precipitation averages just 30 inches, you’re never far from an extreme low or an extreme high. If a few large storms head north into Oregon and bypass our state, we could miss as much as 10 inches, putting us into a drought. Nail us and we have above average water. How much did we get in 2010? Lots — and it’s still coming!

It stared with a bang in October with 4-6 inches of rain in a 7-hour period. The rest of fall saw regular amounts of precipitation. In mid-January a large storm dumped rain and snow for the rest of the month leaving us far above normal, particularly near our northern and southern borders. The rest of winter delivered storms on a regular basis and by the time we got to the end of March we were healthy…and then spring happened.

April has been very wet. Instead of putting our coats and skis away, we’re doing the opposite. Which is good news for boaters.

The Nitty Gritty:
The hard (and wet) facts:

Water Content (amount of water waiting to be released from snow when it melts):

Overall for California:
124% of normal for April 26 based on a 50 year average (was 69% this same date in 2009)

Northern California:
157% of normal (was 67% in 2009)

Central California:
107% of normal (was 71% in 2009)

Southern California:
125% of normal (was 68% in 2009)

Click Herefor a graph of water content in California (from the California Department of Water Resources in Sacramento).

What does all this mean for specific rivers in California in 2010?
South Fork American River (Class III):
High flows between now and the middle of June. Regular flows mid-June through October (six reservoirs above run will be full)

Middle Fork American River (Class III-IV):
Regular flows between now and mid-October (three reservoirs above run will be full)

North Fork American River (Class IV+):
Med-high flows between now and mid-May. Lower flows between mid-May and early June. Flows too low for rafting after the first week of June (no reservoirs above this run).

Merced River (Class IV):
Med-high flows between now and mid-May. High flows between mid-May and mid-June. Med to low-flows between mid-June and mid-July when the river get too low for rafting (no reservoirs above this run).

Tuolumne River (Class IV+):
Med-high flows between now and mid-May. High flows from mid-May to late June. Med to regular flows between July 1 and September 6, the final day of the season (three reservoirs above this run will be full).

Kaweah River (Class IV+):
High flows between now and mid-June. Med to low flows between mid-June and early July when the river becomes too low to raft (no reservoirs above this run).

North Fork Stanislaus (Class IV+):
Regular flows from now until early June when the river becomes too low for rafting.

Upper Klamath (Class IV+):
Regular flows from now until mid-October (one large reservoir above this run will be full).

Cal-Salmon (Class V):
Med-high flows from now until mid-May. High flows from mid-May to mid-June. Medium flows from mid-June until early July when the river becomes too low to raft (no reservoirs above this run). Road to starting point on river maybe closed for the season due to a large mud slide.

Cherry Creek (Class V+):
Flows are too high until late July. Medium flows from late July until Sept 6, the final day of the season (three reservoirs above this run will be full).

Info: www.aorafting.com

Staff Post
Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.

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