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Spike in river stages could help racers

By Taylor Mitchell
June 13, 2014 at 1:13 a.m.

The Guadalupe River in Riverside Park at Checkpoint 8 for the Texas Water Safari is about 200 miles into the race. The river is projected to be at a stage of 6.9 feet with a flow around 892 cubic feet per second  Sunday when the paddlers make it to Victoria.

Competitors in the 52nd annual Texas Water Safari won't be faced with the lowest river stages, but they aren't the highest, either.

More than 6 inches of rainfall along certain parts of the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers has produced a spike in the river stages, but it's not lasting long.

According to river flow data sheets by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration available at the Texas Water Safari website, the Guadalupe River at Gonzales rose to just under 12 feet Friday night but was forecasted to return to about 11.5 to 12 feet by Saturday and Sunday.

The spike in river stages is expected to travel from Gonzales to Tivoli by Monday, the third day of racing in the water safari.

A high river stage, in most circumstances, allows for a higher river flow, which allows for people paddling along a river to move faster. The reverse is true as well. Lower river stages lead to slower river flows.

The following is a breakdown of various river stages and flows along the Texas Water Safari. All information is current as of 8 p.m. Friday. Updated river stage and flow data can be found at the Texas Water Safari website.

San Marcos River near Martindale

The river stage at the start of the Texas Water Safari has hovered around 7.21 feet over the past week. No forecasted stages were available.

San Marcos River at Luling

Don't expect to see record paces near the third checkpoint of the race. The river stage at Luling is one of the lowest of any in the race, measuring at a mere 4.5 feet as of Friday evening. The water isn't expected to rise much over the course of the race, but that won't matter too much since the deadline to reach Luling 90 is at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Guadalupe River at Gonzales

The fifth checkpoint of the race is forecasted to be one of the highest of the race. Boats traveling through Gonzales at night should expect to see a faster river flow, as the river stage is forecasted to rise from about 11.2 feet to 11.8 feet.

Guadalupe River near Cuero

Compared to the river stage at Gonzales, the river stage at Cuero is very low. The river stage near Cuero was at 7.5 feet as of Friday evening. A bump to 8.9 feet is expected late Saturday, but only a few, if any, competitors will benefit.

Guadalupe River at Victoria

The going doesn't get much easier for competitors in Victoria as the river stage drops over an entire foot from 7.7 feet to 5.9 feet. Luckily, the faster boats will get a chance to benefit from the traveling spike in river stages. The spike is forecasted to hit Victoria on Sunday evening, reaching just under 7 feet. However, it is forecasted to drop below 6 feet Monday.

Guadalupe River near Bloomington

The final portions of the race have seen a steady decrease in the river stages over the past week, the only parts of the Texas Water Safari to see a drop. The river stage near Bloomington started the past week at 12.85 feet but has since dropped to just above 11 feet as of 6 p.m. Friday night. The forecast isn't much better for the days of the race, with the only bright spot being a projected rise to 12.8 feet between Sunday and Monday.

Guadalupe River near Tivoli

The effect of the log jams near Bloomington is felt the most on the final portion of the race. The log jams produce some of the lowest stages along the water safari. The river stage was at 3 feet Friday evening but had dropped to about 1.5 feet earlier in the day.

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