For my trip on the Ohio river am I more interested in flow rate as stated in cubic feet per minute(or is it per second) or do I look at current velocity stated in miles per hour?
My sister who is into the play baoting and whitewater basis things on flow rate (cubic feet thing) but I think the velocity(MPH) would be more pertinent to the Ohio river.
Also noted that the current is pretty irregular at various locations along the river and are mostly measured at the locks and dams. How does one include current in planning a target number of miles per day?
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Posted by: angstrom on Jun-13-12 11:10 AM (EST)
Velocity is more important for planning speed & distance as long as there are no significant features that are affected by depth.
Posted by: jbd on Jun-13-12 11:15 AM (EST)
for the quick reply. One more question if you don't mind. When the velocity is only 0.3 mph is it worth including in planning a target distance for each day or should I just use the general 3 mph paddling rate that I have seen referred to frequently?
Posted by: mintjulep on Jun-13-12 11:22 AM (EST)
How long a time do you plan to paddle?
Posted by: jbd on Jun-13-12 11:45 AM (EST)
time I haven't nailed down yet but will be roughly 8 to 10 hours on good weather days. I need to check the sunrise sunset charts for the time of year I plan to go. From what I have read in journals of others trips storms can cut that down quite abit as can the process of locking through.
Factor in the wind|
Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-13-12 11:36 AM (EST)
That may be just as important as the current. Rivers tend to funnel wind and you can be going several directions as the river curves and the wind may always be in your face.
Posted by: mintjulep on Jun-13-12 11:14 AM (EST)
In the whitewater world flow in cubic feet per minute or second, or height on some arbitrary gauge are correlated by experience to acceptable conditions to go paddle and play in a particular river.
Ohio River Trip?|
Posted by: PlacidPaddler on Jun-13-12 12:27 PM (EST)
What is this Ohio River trip?
Posted by: jbd on Jun-13-12 6:35 PM (EST)
is starting in Maysville Ky and I am following the Ohio river to Paducah Ky where I will turn onto the Tennessee River and proceed through the locks or portage around them and end up at KenLake Resort State Park. This will be in late October or early November.
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jun-13-12 12:28 PM (EST)
All that's been said is correct. I will add one other thing. Not only is flow rate meaningless UNLESS you are familiar with the river and have seen what various flow rates look like, determining what changes in flow rate will mean to your trip is practically impossible. For example, in the last month, flow rate on the part of the Wisconsin River that I usually paddle has varied from approximately 4,200 to 21,000 cubic feet per second. That sounds like a huge change, but it represents a change in gauge readings (water elevation) of about four feet, and a change in current speed that is surprisingly small, especially within the upper three feet of that four-foot span in gauge readings. If it weren't for the fact that at normal summer levels one needs to zig-zag all over the channel to follow the deeper water, and occasionally become slowed down in extreme shallows, there'd be very little difference in travel speed no matter what the flow rate is. On a bigger river where there's plenty of depth most places, I'd expect a similar trend so I really wouldn't care much about flow rate in cubic feet per second.
Don't forget about the wind!|
Posted by: clarion on Jun-13-12 12:38 PM (EST)
Big open water like the Ohio can be tough wind-wise. And you'll be paddling into the prevailing westerlies.
Posted by: jimyaker on Jun-13-12 3:25 PM (EST)
A paddler with experience on that river will likely be a better predictor than a simple equation. Having said that, my experience is 2 mph for a leisurely trip of short boats and fairly new paddlers up to about 4 mph for a focused group of long-boaters. A fairly strong flow will add up to 3 or 4 mph if they stay in the channel.
speed is, probably, more relevant|
Posted by: suiram on Jun-13-12 3:44 PM (EST)
Here is one site that gives forecasts
Posted by: notso on Jun-13-12 5:46 PM (EST)
It may be different on "big" rivers like the Ohio, but around here all of the USGS gauges are simply a level gauge. Flow and any current speed reporting is simply an extrapilation based on water depth and river width at the gauge site. Do they actually have a gauge to measure water velocity (water wheel or similar) on these other rivers?
The gauge information site will say.|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jun-13-12 6:24 PM (EST)
On a very slow river in my town there's a gauge located about a mile upstream of a very large lake, so water level is meaningless without also knowing current velocity. Information about the gauge on the USGS site says current velocity is measured by a "side looking velocity meter system", whatever that is. I've been there, and whatever the device is, it's completely under water.
Posted by: jbd on Jun-14-12 10:44 AM (EST)
I have bookmarked the forecast page as it gives me the ability to start watching the river flow up to 90 ahead of time.