The Columbia River is Raging -- Check the current before you go out!
Published 10:10pm on 17 Jun 2022
We all check the wind before we go out sailing, but this time of year it is the current that can get in the way of a safe, fun outing. When the river is pushing harder and faster than you are used to, you can get into a dangerous situation faster than you think.
Do you know how to check the river height and current velocity before you go out on the water?
There is a USGS water gage on the I-5 bridge. Here is the link -- I-5 Bridge water gauge. For reference, the water level at the gage hovers around 0 during late summer low water and the Marine Drive levee system is designed for a major flood at around elevation 32. Velocity data is available online going back about 8 years. The highest recorded velocity in that timespan was 3.7 feet per second, and this last week it's been around 3.4 feet per second! The tides affect the velocity more as the river height goes down and the velocity often goes negative when the tide is coming in during low water. Here is the predicted river height at weather.gov.