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Water Level

Roanoke's River Dynamics

Streamflow on the Roanoke River and tributaries varies considerably based on season and meteorological events but generally ranges from flatwater to Class II rapids. During low water levels sections of the river may not be floatable without exiting the boat or scrapping the river bottom (see minimum recommended streamflow levels for each access point on the Blueway Access page). Minimum streamflow recommendations are basic guidelines for Blueway use, but factors like boat type and paddler skill mean lower levels might still allow passage. High water can increase risks. Always check river and weather conditions before heading out.

Real-Time and Forecast Streamflow

The NOAA/USGS graph provides real-time (updated every 15 minutes) and forecast (next 5 days) streamflow data at the USGS gage (2055000 Roanoke) at Walnut Avenue to assist in planning a safe and enjoyable outing on the Roanoke River Blueway by cross-referencing the recommended minimum and maximum streamflow levels cited in the Portage and Hazards and the Roanoke River Blueway Access Information sections. See the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service for additional site information. Please note: The NOAA forecast graph shows streamflow in kilo cubic feet per second (kcfs). For the Roanoke River Blueway, where recommendations use cubic feet per second (cfs), simply multiply kcfs by 1,000 to convert. For instance, 0.2 kcfs becomes 200 cfs.

View Forecast

USGS – Virginia Streamflow Information

The following USGS stream gages are located on the Roanoke River Blueway. Click on gage number for detailed real-time streamflow information. See the Roanoke River Blueway Interactive map for stream gage locations.

2053800  Shawsville
2054500  Lafayette
2054530  Glenvar
2055000  Roanoke
2056000  Niagara
2056650  Back Creek

Sign Up for USGS WaterAlert Service
Sign up the the U.S. Geological Survey WaterAlert Service to receive e-mail or text (SMS) messages when certain parameters, as measured by a USGS real-time data-collection station, exceed user-definable thresholds. Click on the desired USGS streamflow gage link above, click on the Subscribe to WaterAlert link, and set streamflow parameters (i.e., 120 cfs at 2055000  Roanoke is the minimum recommended streamflow for much of the Roanoke River Blueway). Note: Be sure to select the WaterAlert link below the Discharge/cubic feet per second (cfs) graph.