river levels
  Frequently Asked Questions


Q:    Where is the data retrieved from?

A:    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations web site.  NOAA has water guages in rivers all over the country, and logs this data, in many cases several times an hour.   These pages provide a large amount of information for anyone wanting to know more about a specific river.  


Q:    Why does the graph show no level or a level of zero?

A:    Reasons for there being no data could be that the guage is not operating properly, or it is offline for various reasons.


Q:    Why does the data show a level higher or lower than what I know it is?

A:    The most common cause for erroneous readings is ice.  If the river still has ice, it could cause the guage to misread the level. In the picture below, you can see the day that the ice "broke" and the guage started reading more accurately.  Other factors could also contribute.



Q:    Does a drastic change indicate a faulty reading or defective guage?

A:    No.  The image below shows a drastic rise on the Kenai River during September of 2017.  This was due to an ice-dam breaking up river that caused the river to rise 4 feet in just a few days and then drop back down in the same amount of time.  This scenario reflects accurate data.



Q:    How often is data gathered?

A:    For this site, each rivers data is gathered around noon each day. 


Q:    Why is there only a limited amount of data?

A:    I first started this project a few years ago and started collecting data on just a few rivers of interest.  Some time later, I lost my database and all the data therein.  I started over again in May of 2017 and have been collecting data since.  I've added other rivers since then, and so their data does not go as far back as the first ones, and many more may be added as time goes on.


Q:    Why?

A:    As I wanted to get a view of a rivers water levels, I found the NOAA site.  As nice as it is at gathering data, the web page has so much information that it is easy to get lost in, and the view of each river is about 10 days worth at 15 minute increments.   What I wanted was something not so granular in it's view and a broader view of the rivers trend.   In addition, I desired to see what the previous years levels were like at the same time of year.   Perhaps I can add the year before that as well.