Warmer temps accompany rising river
Temperatures are up and the river’s rising, due primarily to spring temperatures and the consequent meltoff in the Sierra, according to Julian Larrouy, East Fork watermaster.
“The river is a little over 2,400 cubic feet per second, considerably over the average but not anywhere close to flood stage,” he said. “I think it will probably get higher rather than lower, especially when we don’t get frost in the evenings.”
High temperatures stayed in the mid-70s over the past week and the lows hovered right around freezing in the Carson Valley, between 30 and 34 degrees Fahrenheit, Larrouy said.
The Brockliss Slough on the west side of the Carson Valley is running at more than 700 cfs, Larrouy said.
“It will start flooding the pastures at around 1,000 cfs,” he said.
The river is expected to peak around Memorial Day and even though the West Fork is only 1 foot below flood stage, Gary Barbato, hydrologist for the National Weather Service, said he isn’t expecting a problem as long as the weather holds.
“At this point we aren’t concerned about the Carson River unless we get a warm rain,” he said. “That’s the worst thing. If we got a genuine winter storm with high snow levels that wouldn’t be good either, but doesn’t look like we’re going to get that.”
Barbato said there’s a daily ebb and flow to the water levels on both the east and west forks of the Carson River.
On the East Fork, the melted snow reaches the Valley about 10 hours after peak temperatures, or around midnight. The lowest flows usually occur late in the afternoon, between 4 and 5 p.m. The West Fork crests at about 11 p.m. and is lowest low around 1 p.m.
Warm, sunny weather is forecast through Saturday, with highs in the 70s and 80s. Lows in the region, which extends from Reno to Gardnerville, are expected to stay in the 40s and low 50s.
Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.