Well when it rains 2 1/2 inches over the course of a day and a half the rivers get a little high.
This is the United States Geological Survey gage for the French Broad River that flows through Asheville. As you can see the water level went from about 500 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 6000 cfs in two days. This is not a flood level but it makes for some fun boating. The water level will most likely drop almost as fast as it went up because we are still technically in a drought here in the SE. But a few more rains like this and maybe our water levels will come back up and the ground won’t be so dried out. As a historical perspective, four years ago when the hurricanes came to NC the river peaked at 43,100 cfs. Which is not even the highest it’s ever been. In 1916 the river peaked at 110,000 cfs. Which is also 15 feet above flood stage. Compare all of this with earlier this year when the river reached the lowest recorded level of 176 cfs in the 113 years that they have been keeping records.
Here is a photo of the river at 176 cfs. The river is 100 yards wide at this point and today the river was at least 4 feet higher on the big rock in the top right of the photo. There was also a wave/hole 3 feet deep that I could surf in my kayak that was created by the rock that is just submurged in the center of the photo. Needless to say I didn’t get a photo today because the rock I stood on then today is 4 feet under water that is moving 10 mph.
Here is the link to the USGS Realtime water data for the nation. They have all sorts of information about streams, rivers, lakes, precipitation and water quality.