Monday, January 3, 2011

Creeks and Rivers are Running High after the Thaw

The Beaver River

The big two-day thaw left us with a lot less snow, and a lot more run-off. The Beaver River is running very high, over it's banks in places, and slightly muddy. Even at normal water levels, the river braids into 2 or 3 different channels in the flat parts of the valley bottom; today it is filling all those channels and flowing among the trees in between.

Wodehouse Creek

All the smaller creeks are overflowing their banks too, with a strong current carrying the water along the channel. All the melted snow is headed downstream. You expect this in late March or early April, during spring run-off, but sometimes we forget it happens in a winter thaw too.

Rivulet South of Kimberly

And then there are the tiny ephemeral streams that usually don't exist at all, unless perhaps as a tiny muddy channel that you need to step over after a summer rain. Today they are all flowing with run-off, this one blocking the trail through the old meadow where it spreads out along the old tractor ruts. A few colder days and this stream will disappear entirely, letting you walk the trails easily again.

By the way, the temperature did plunge on Saturday, about 10 degrees in 10 hours, and the wind did shift around from the south to the northwest. Winter is back, with a little new snow to cover the dirt exposed by the thaw.

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