By DEAN A. RADFORD
Editor, Renton Reporter
The City of Seattle began to slowly increase the flow of water from the Chester Morse Reservoir in the Cascades today (Wednesday) that will bring the Cedar River to just below a Stage 2 flood alert.
However, such an increased flow will not cause flooding, although City of Renton officials expect to to have to close parts of the walkway along the river because of the higher water.
The river was already running at levels higher than normal for this time of year because of the fast melt of the huge snowpack in Cascades brought on by last weekend’s heat weather, followed by rain.
The higher flows of fast cold water led to the closure of the Cedar River to recreational uses last weekend. Those higher flows could continue into next week.
The higher release from Masonry Dam at the reservoir was to start roughly late morning and take five to six hours. The goal is to increase the outflow by about 600 cubic feet per second, which would bring the river level in Renton to about 2,900 cubic feet per second.
The median flow for the Cedar in Renton this time of year is between 700 and 800 cubic feet per second, according to Tom Fox, the water resources manager for Seattle Public Utilities.
The river will slowly rise over the next 10 hours or so, with a peak flow reached in about 15 hours, according to Fox.