riparian rap

A hard lesson in urban hydrology.

After readying both video and surveying gear last night for an early morning sprint to St. Louis to catch Fishpot Creek in flood, I slept a few hours before waking at 5am to check the radar. Not much happening in St. Louis. The predicted storm seemed to have fizzled.

Disappointed, I went back to bed. I had high hopes of catching this creek in flood. The site we’re working on is very unusual, and flood observations would help with our analysis.

I spent a busy day mostly working with Jesse on the Em4’s power supply and controls. Around four I took a break to check the weather and the real-time gage, and was astounded to see the creek had hit 2,000 cfs during the day, at least a bankful flood. One of our colleagues in St. Louis made it out to catch some photos and take notes, at least.

As you can see from the rainfall chart, the storm had fizzled. Not much rain fell today, but that 0.6″ on top of the previous day’s 1.5″ to 2″ was enough to send many of the St. Louis creeks to a second very high flow. Catching these floods is hard. It’s especially frustrating when they peak at night. This one happened in broad daylight, while all my gear sat ready to go.

I’ve spent many hours waiting and hoping, and lots of driving to creeks that never rose, so I’m reluctant to go unless the odds are good, and they didn’t look that way at 5am this morning.

At least we’ll have nice fresh high water marks to survey when we head over there next week.