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Flood Stage at Merrill, Alaska


The National Weather Service uses several terms to describe high water conditions. These include flood stage, action stage, and bankfull stage – due to Alaska’s sparse gauge network, these stages represent a more comprehensive description than simply listing specific gauge locations in Alaska.

“Bankfull” denotes a state in which water will overflow the lowest natural streambank at some point within an individual reach.

Flood Stage

Heavy rainfall has led area rivers to flood, with some reaching bank complete or flood stage today into tonight. People should remain away from riverbanks, taking extra caution when driving or walking near them.

Flood Stage refers to an established gauge height at any location above which rising water surface levels become a hazard to lives, property, or commerce. Flood advisories or warnings issued due to reaching this stage at specific gage locations will occur upon reaching it.

The river has reached flood stage in Merrill and has overflowed into Riverside Park, as well as flooding roads throughout town. Stange’s and Prairie River Trails parks also report high water levels, while Blackhawk Park in Portage should reach flood stage by tomorrow morning.

The Wisconsin River at Helena stands at 87 feet and rising, which could result in hunting season closures at Sunflower, Delta National Forest, Shipland Wildlife Management Area (excluding waterfowl hunting), and Twin Oaks if it reaches flood stage at Greenville or Vicksburg gauges. A rising Mississippi River could also close hunting seasons in portions of Coahoma, Bolivar, Washington, and Issaquena Sharkey counties, depending on where its waters reach flood stage – see Water School section for further details.

Action Stage

The stage is an established gauge datum above which an increase in water surface level poses a threat to lives, property, or commerce. People living or recreating near streams should keep a close watch on what information their stage provides.

Merrill Mitchell ’22 had no trouble making an instant connection at Nebraska Wesleyan as a transfer student, landing her first role in the Spring Opera before even arriving on campus – a testament to Nebraska Wesleyan’s abundance of performance opportunities. Merrill credits the Liana K. Sandin Opera Series cast and professors with creating an instant family feel upon joining her new university home.

Merrill’s perseverance and determination stem from her desire to establish meaningful connections with those she encounters. As a singer, she takes inspiration from Audra McDonald and Kelli O’Hara – two role models who have found success in both musical theatre and opera – whom she looks up to for guidance. Additionally, her vocal versatility will allow her to stand out in a competitive industry. Offstage, she flexes her artistic muscles by designing posters and programs for Hansel and Gretel productions, as well as contributing in-show illustrations for Fun Home productions.

Bankfull Stage

The Bankfull Stage refers to any level of water that exceeds a specified gauge datum and indicates a river or stream is operating at high flow conditions, likely affecting adjacent lands and possibly producing severe flooding.

Bankfull stages serve as an indicator of potential impacts to be expected at multiple locations upstream and downstream of a gauged waterbody, reflecting characteristics of its entire stream basin rather than just that being monitored. Due to Alaska’s sparse gauge network, these terms are often applied more broadly than is often the case elsewhere in the U.S.

Field indicators for the bank complete stage can usually be found along most meandering and straight channel reaches, typically located inside meander bends or along point bars that form along straight channel stretches. They’re marked with field markers at the points where they rise above the level of their surrounding floodplain.

Due to seasonal drying-out in summer months, the upper Merrill & Ring Creek system lacks functional fish habitat capabilities that meet fish-feeding requirements. On the other hand, its lower system offers adequate riparian and terrestrial habitat with sufficient large wood available for riffle formation purposes; however, smaller wood pieces limit full habitat potential and pool formation potential.

Flood Forecast

Since Sunday, the Pearl River near Monticello has remained above flood stage and is expected to crest just under 28 feet by midweek, according to projections by officials and anticipated by Thomas Winesett of Jackson National Weather Service’s meteorologist group. Winesett predicted that while most areas would avoid flood damages from its cresting, some communities like Monticello and Columbia will likely still experience water levels at or above the flood stage due to this rising river. The Red Cross offers assistance, and residents are being warned against potential flooding threats by officials as experts warn them by providing warning signs in advance of flooding. Red Cross aid is also offered when necessary.

National Weather Service utilizes three terms — bank complete stage, action stage, and flood stage — to describe the status of streams at particular locations. Alaska’s limited gauge network may cause these terms to be less precise than they would be elsewhere; they still generally reflect water level characteristics at any particular gage site as well as upstream and downstream neighbors.

Hover your cursor over any Streamgage site to see both current and predicted river levels for several days into the future. Each site also provides links to upstream and downstream stream gages as well as watershed descriptions; those living or recreating near any river or lake should identify its nearest gage and monitor its status on an ongoing basis.