Current: If the river current is strong, as happens during heavy rains, the minimum number of paddlers in a dragon boat should be increased to correspond with the increased river flow. Consult the NWS River Forecast Data for the Willamette River at Portland for specific data and a link to the hydrologic predictions for water velocity measured in feet per second (fps). Generally, flows during the offseason (October through February) will warrant that the minimum number of experienced paddlers must be increased to at least 10 and preferably should be increased to 12. If flows are greater than 2.5 fps, the minimum number of experienced paddlers must be increased to at least 14 and preferably should be increased to 16. If flows are greater than 3 fps, all teams/crews must not go out. Please note that even if strong currents subside, practices may remain canceled if dangerous large debris is present.
At last nights meeting, the DragonSports Board voted to update our Safety Rules & Guidelines to give more specific guidance on the number of paddlers required at various stream velocities. The new guidelines read:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
This past weekend, a number of teams had to cancel practice on the docks because of swift current and debris. While we can't always know what the debris situation is going to look like until we get down there, we can almost always look up the stream flow online.
Our informal guidelines are to cancel all practices when the Willamette is moving at more than 3 fps. The usual link we point you to hasn't been reporting data for the past few days for some reason, but there is another way to look up this information and even receive email alerts when the stream velocity exceeds a certain rate (we use 2.75 fps).
Go to USGS WaterAlert page and click on the station that looks like it's in downtown Portland (should read "WILLAMETTE RIVER AT PORTLAND, OR"). Click on "Subscribe to WaterAlert" and we recommend setting it for daily notifications the stream velocity exceeds 2.75 as pictured in this screen shot.
You'll get an email and from there you can check the current conditions and always be in the know
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