82 years and flowing

You’ve heard of the expression – “a lot of water has passed under the bridge.” In this case, it’s sort of the same, but not under, or a bridge, but rather “over a weir.”

The U.S. Geological Survey has been collecting flow data from Deer Creek, at the weir shown below, since 1926.

Add it to the list of reasons why I love Rocks State Park. In my humble opinion, it’s the greatest nature park in the world – bare none! (Yes, Yosemite is great, so too is the Grand Canyon, and Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve is exquisite, but none of the above has a King and Queens Seat, or a freshet of water quite like the roar of “Rocks.”  Am I biased? … I’ll let you be the judge.)

The first graph is what I call a “poor man’s data dump.”

It shows weekly flows from 1970 to present in a calendar format. You read it just like a book – years from top to bottom and months from left to right. The big orange dots shows high-order weekly flows (over 300 cfs), the blue dots show the middle range (100-300 cfs), and the gray dashes extreme low-water flows.

A few things jump out:  
(1) The big orange dot is from Hurricane Agnes. One of my first memories is taking cover in our basement to ride out the storm. (2) 2001-2002 was the drought of record. It barely flowed but at a trickle for 2 straight years, and notably it missed its usually reliable spring flush. (3) Also note the extended peak flow events where the “blue dots” span the entire calendar year.

The second graph reports total yearly flow volumes. Agnes’s 1972, 1979, 1996, and 2003 stand out as peak flow years. Compare those to the drought years of 1981 and 2002, which registered a fourth the volume of the peak years.

Rocks state park is more than just another pretty place:
It’s a hydrological treasure trove!

And all thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey … 82 years and running (or in this case, flowing).

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