Guidelines for Anticipating Good Paddling Conditions at Weldon
The best paddling conditions occur when the flows from Roanoke Rapids Dam are between 2,000 and 3,300 cfs and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Halifax gage stage is below 20 feet. Below is a guide to aid in determining when to expect river conditions to impact or delay the Halifax 20’ stage.
Flood conditions in the river for up to two weeks prior. Although Roanoke Rapids Dam may be releasing 2,000 cfs, local inflow and ground water may be enough to delay the 20’ stage at Halifax later than noon on Saturday. If the flood conditions were present in the 5 days prior, the 20’ stage may not be met.
Peaks on Friday afternoon. A two-hour or longer 20,000 cfs flow from the Roanoke Rapids Dam on Friday (Halifax stage reaches 25’ Friday afternoon) ending by 6:00 PM or earlier may delay the 20’ stage to 11:00 AM on Saturday or later (25’ or higher stage at Halifax).
Long 20,000 peaks on Friday afternoon. Extended Friday afternoon 20,000 cfs peaks that cause the Halifax stage to exceed 27.5’ stage on Friday evening may delay the 20’ stage at Halifax until after 3:00 PM on Saturday.
Three consecutive days of one-hour 20,000 cfs flows. Flows from the Roanoke Rapids Dam for three consecutive days and the Halifax stage reaching 23’ on Friday may delay the 20’ stage past noon on Saturday.
Large rainfall events impact the Halifax stage. On several occasions from 2006 – 2010 a large rainfall event (2+ inches) caused Dominion to have to release larger volumes of water from Roanoke Rapids Dam in order to maintain reservoir levels upstream. A large rainfall event even on a Monday can influence river stage at Halifax on the weekend.
Minimum flow requirement. The minimum flow requirement from the Roanoke Rapids Dam decreases from 2,000 cfs to 1,500 cfs on September 15th. From September 15th – October 31st, the 20’ stage at Halifax is typically obtained by 9:00 AM on Saturday.
Rule of Thumb for Predicting 20’ Stage at Halifax on Saturday The chart below is designed to aid in projecting a time when the Halifax stage will be < 20’on Saturday following a peaking event on Friday.
Using the chart, if Dominion peaks the Roanoke Rapids station at 20,000 cfs on Friday for two hours, the projected time Halifax stage would be below 20’ on Saturday is 15 hours later. Therefore, if the peak ended at 6 PM Friday, Halifax stage is projected to be < 20’ at 9 AM Saturday. NOTE: Conditions cited in 1-6 above influence the Halifax stage.