Fast, cold river flows after rain

Warmer weather forecasted for later this week
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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While the sunny skies forecasted for this weekend may make locals forget about the week’s earlier rain showers, there are still swift-moving river waters that serve as a reminder. River levels quadrupled this week, according to inflow figures from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Folsom Lake operations station. The area counts the inflow from the South and North forks of the American River. The middle and north forks of the river converge at the confluence in Auburn and then travel 9 river miles to Folsom lake. According to a daily operations report from the bureau, the total inflow to the lake from all three forks was at 4,793 cubic feet per second May 1. On May 5, the inflow jumped to 16,557 cubic feet per second. At the North Fork of the American River at Lake Clementine, the inflow was 4,500 cubic feet per second Wednesday. The flow was 2,500 cubic feet per second Wednesday at the Middle Fork of the American River above tunnel chute. At the South Fork of the American River at Chili Bar, the flow was 4,600 cubic feet per second Wednesday. State park ranger Scott Liske said he’s noticed a visible change in the river this week. “It’s wider and deeper than what it is normally throughout the year and the flows are much faster right now,” Liske said Wednesday. Liske cautioned that novice rafters or kayakers steer clear of the north fork of the river for the next 36 hours. “A section of the river they may have done in the summer when it was a class II might now be a class III or IV,” Liske said. “It’s a different river when it’s running high and fast.” Liske estimated that by the weekend flows should decrease. The weekend should also show a noticeable decrease in wet weather. “The main theme is fair weather,” said Karl Swanberg, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “A high pressure system is expected to build across the region bringing mostly clear skies and a warming trend will be developing.” Swanberg said the dry weather is expected to stay through the early part of next week. Liske advised that daytime river visitors stay away from the water’s edge and not wade. “Anyone who is a non-swimmer definitely wants to stay away,” Liske said. “It’s not advisable to wade out in the river to cool off or refresh. The river is much too unpredictable and dangerous right now.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.