Tuesday 5-23-17

Greetings and welcome!

Last weekend brought huge water to the Peshtigo River whitewater stretch, and hundreds of people showed up to play in the big water. The weather held off until about 3pm Saturday, so people got a lot of their Saturday in without getting rained on.

I predicted 36-40″ of water in the Peshtigo River, and got close. We ended up peaking at +32″. Considering the amount of guesswork involved missing by 4″ doesn’t seem that bad. Right now we are down to about +24″ and it is falling about 6″ every 36 hours. When I was in the near watershed yesterday there was still a lot of water to drain, but it was not coming at a rate that would support a continued 24″ plus level.

The guess for this weekend is not an easy one. There is nothing carved in stone that says that it will fall at the current rate and not go down faster. At the same time there will be a floor where all of the water reserved in swamps and wetlands will hold us above normal. Right now my best guess for Saturday’s water levels is +6 to +12″ with a hope that it stays closer to 16 or 17. I don’t see a scenario with the water going much below +6″, so good water levels this weekend is almost a lock.

Item two is weather for the holiday weekend. The setup that I am seeing on the GFS forecast model has us in warm moist summer-like air. There is a very weak low pressure system that will pass over about Milwaukee Sunday. Being in the periphery of that for Saturday-Monday there will be a chance of a shower or storm popping up just about any time. We are not looking at an organized storm or all day rain, so I wouldn’t change any plans over it, but rather be prepared for it and enjoy the weekend.

People that get to start the weekend on Thursday or Friday will be well rewarded with nice 70ish weather, and we are expecting low to mid-70s all weekend. Campers will appreciate lows in the mid-50s.

Right now the events that I know of are just kind of generalized things that I recall seeing posters, signs, or Facebook posts about. I will track them down as soon as I can.

Crivitz Red White & Blue Festival

Silver Cliff Memorial Picnic Grounds- The local Legion Post will be having a memorial service and picnic. I believe that it is Sunday.

Crooked Lake- Meat raffle & picnic with the VFD??

Grand opening at Trixie’s Bar (Used to be Curve Inn)-

Grand opening at the Doghouse Bar just south of W on Parkway-

Monday Chris & I went to town and took the long way through the national forest. It rained a little on us, but not the whole time. I took a bunch of pictures of wildflowers and scenic areas. Added to a couple of rafting pictures from last weekend here is my gallery for today. I really like the trillium picture with the rain on the leaves around it, and the second pond picture that shows the various shades of green as the new leaves unfold. Other than a minor gamma adjustment on one rafting picture these are untouched other than sizing them down for the web. I love my Nikon cameras!

Many of you have seen the pictures and videos of the gas station and Burger King in Iron Mountain by Walmart burning down. The gas station caught fire and the whole building is on the ground now. While fighting the fire one fireman had the whole front of the building come down on him, and he was trapped under a burning wall for about 2 minutes before they could free him. He and two other firefighters sustained non life threatening injuries battling the blaze. Thankfully the fire did not involve the fuel storage or it could have been a lot worse.

That is my update for today. I expect to be adding to it as the week progresses with weather, river, and event updates. Stay tuned. Have a good week and thank you for visiting!

RJB

 

Thursday 5-18-2017

Greetings and welcome!

The big news this week was obviously the rain. We had strong storms and heavy rain, and it came wave after wave for three days. The USGS gauge by Kosir’s tallied 1.4″ since Monday, and almost an inch of it from yesterday. I find it a little hard to believe that Monday & Tuesday’s rain was only a little over 1/2″, or that yesterday’s hours of pounding rain was less than an inch. Right now I am more inclined to believe the radar returns with their 2-2.5″ estimate, and that could be low.

I can tell you that my pond is much bigger that it usually is, and much bigger than it was on Sunday. I also saw a FaceBook photo this morning of a friend’s dock on a nearby lake that was under water by quite a bit. Whatever the tally was we have seen a lot of rain.

My thoughts turned to the Peshtigo River and whitewater rafting. Here is a screen cap of the radar return based estimated rainfall. I cropped it, moved the scale to our area, and did a very rough approximation of the Peshtigo River watershed.

My guess Tuesday morning was that the river would jump from about a +6′ to about a +16 or +17″ from Monday’s rain. We can flush that idea. In the past two days we have seen the river go from about 550cfs to almost 1500, and the slope of the graph indicates that it isn’t done coming up. Right now the morning gauge reading translates to about a +26″ level by my estimation.

(But wait.. if you order now..) Yes it gets better… The really heavy rain was way up in the far reaches of the watershed. With a fairly elongated watershed that rain takes 2-3 days to get to the whitewater stretch that we play in. Tuesday and Wednesday’s heavy rain hit hard way up by Crandon, Laona, and Armstrong Creek. That water should start reaching our stretch of river today and tomorrow.

Whitewater rafting this weekend will be epic.

I have watched this river for a couple of decades and I am usually pretty good at guessing weekend levels. This set up has me scratching my head. It takes a lot to raise the river farther once we get to about 24. The river channel widens and throws an extra dynamic into the equation. At the same time the radar returns are just estimates, and if 5-6″ is really 3″ that will throw me too. Anyway my wild guess for Saturday is that the Pesh will be in the 36 to 40″ range. Whatever the case, the water will be huge.

A couple of added bonuses- First of all we often don’t get water this high in spring when the snowmelt+runoff+frozen ground brings the big water. When it comes then, the water is usually in the 30-40 degree range. This weekend’s water will be much much warmer. Bonus #2 spring rafting pricing ended last weekend at Kosir’s and you can take a raft trip for $30 instead of $50. Bonus #3 is that you get to do it at above freezing temperatures. Bonus #4 there is so much water in the watershed that we are pretty much guaranteed fun water levels for Memorial Day weekend. I don’t see how it could possibly go below the fun zone in 9 days.

We really have a lot to look forward to in the whitewater department this weekend and beyond.

Not everyone will be happy about all of the rain. Contractors, loggers, excavators and other people that work outside had a tough week. There might be some driveway and trail erosion. I also saw some pretty attractive mud holes that used to be two lane ruts roads.

I am going to post what I have for the folks that check in at lunch hour and post the rest in about an hour.

Break

Today in the wake of the storm we have gusty winds and much cooler temperatures. Yesterday we were close to 80 and very humid. Today through Sunday we will be lucky to hit 60. Tonight we are expecting widespread frost and a low around 30. Friday night will be a little warmer at around 40.

Saturday they are predicting mid-50s for high temps and a low around 45 Saturday night. There is a 70% chance of rain Saturday, and 60% Saturday night.

There is a storm coming for Saturday that looks like it will affect us for about 12 hours with the main precip area. The GFS has it holding off into the afternoon, the NAM forecast model has it coming at about noon. The rainfall estimates are  GFS=0.25-0.5″  NAM=0.25-0.5″, bordering 0.5-0.75″. Dice it or slice it, it doesn’t matter, Saturday looks wet. It would be great if the storm stalled and took a couple of extra days to get here, but that is only wishful thinking.

Sunday looks a lot better with only a chance of lingering showers and highs in the mid-50s.

Thinking about the ATV trails.. we won’t have to worry about dust this weekend.. and there might be some biiiig puddles and mud holes. Yeehaw!

I always like to exit on a happy note, so I am going to go. Have a good weekend and thank you for visiting!

RJB