10 years ago
by Mark Singleton
Several rain gauges come in handy in determining the flow on the West Prong. The NOAA website has a great Newfound Gap rain gauge that is reliable, as often the afws gauges for Sevier County are down. It is found here.
During the winter months, you need at least a 1" reading, while in late spring through fall, look for readings of 2+ inches for flow.
The other quintessential rain gauge resource can be found at http://www.afws.net/data/tn/Sevier.htm.
This is updated every 15 minutes and is my bible! Pay special attention to gauge id's 1543 and 1547. It takes roughly six hours or slightly less for water to reach the trailhead from Newfound Gap.
A new experimental virtual gauge has been created to calculate the flow in the West Prong down in Sevierville. This isolates the flow to that only coming from the West Prong drainage. Though the lag time is 12-18 hours, this new gauge can help paddlers slowly gain a better understanding of how this new gauge responds to various levels on the whitewater stretch via the visual gauge at the picnic area.
PLEASE POST YOUR PICNIC VISUALS AND THE DATE AND TIME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!
The visual gauge is located on the US 441 bridge over the creek at Chimneys Picnic Area. It is located on the downstream side of the river left abutment of the bridge. The gauge changes frequently, so use your head.
Currently as of late 2006, 0.8 is pretty low, with 1-1.1 feet being nice and 1.3-1.5 being medium to medium high. Above 1.5 and you are on your own.
A stream gage is located on the AFWS site under gage ID 1599, HoJo Bridge. Located in Gatlinburg, it is useful, but with a slight delay. Meaning, if you got the proper rain totals don't wait for it to get to Gatlinburg, you might just lose the best water. Despite this, look for it to be at least 2.6.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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