NF Virgin Prediction - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-05-2010   #1
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
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NF Virgin Prediction

I ran some calculations to predict the flow on the NF Virgin River based on historical snow water equivalent levels at Kolob on April 1. The SWE of 30.6 in on April 1, 2009 suggest that consistent flows of > 400 cfs should begin on April 18th. I am planning a trip April 22-23 and historical records suggest that flows should be between 200 - 500 cfs and most likely be around 400 cfs. It looks like the flows will likely be above 400 cfs later in the year and around May 1 should be pretty high (over 800?? cfs).

Hope everyone sees good flows and I hope the road opens early this season but it will likely open no earlier than April 20th.

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Old 04-05-2010   #2
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See also.
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Old 04-06-2010   #3
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Called the rangers there today. They got more snow on the N. Road/mud put in road last night he said.
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Old 04-06-2010   #4
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I'm there today - in Springdale and heading into Zion tomorrow. As far as I can tell there's just enough in the mornings for duckies - wouldn't take a hardshell just yet (I don't own one, and don't know much about that kind of kayaking) because the flows look really low - 150 cfs or less. But, it's starting to warm up now so I'd say it's just about ready!
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Old 04-16-2010   #5
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I hope my prediction comes to fruition. Anyone know anything about road conditions to the put-in?
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Old 04-16-2010   #6
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I hope you are right! I'll be there ready to paddle on the 23rd evening for a 24th paddle. Might be coming solo and looking to meet up with other paddlers.

Jonny- Are you paddling on the 23rd or 24th. I could maybe be there a day early or late if there will be others to paddle with.
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Old 04-16-2010   #7
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Cedar City, Utah
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Any historical prediction of flows on the Virgin won't work. The North Fork is almost entirely snowmelt and is dependent on daily temperature, albedo, and wind conditions. The weather in southwest Utah has been cool and wet through this spring. Snowmelt is starting, should increase the flow through this weekend, but snow is predicted for the high country Tues-Thurs next week. That will turn the flow off like a faucet. Zion does not issue permits for boating when flows are less than 140 cfs, part of a negotiation that allowed private vehicle shuttle access within the canyon, contained in the Superintendent's compendium (2002) of the Master mangaement plan.That said, there is (probably) boatable water at the put-in. Have not had any eyes on it yet.
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