Weather Information for MCR now on the MCR Website

As many people who visit Merrill Creek Reservoir know, weather conditions can change pretty quickly here on top of the mountain, especially if you are operating watercraft on the reservoir.  What may appear to be calm water at the boat ramp, or in the coves around the reservoir, may not necessarily be the case once you venture out away from the coves and into open water.  Furthermore, what could start out as light rain at the bottom of Scott’s Mountain in winter may actually be snow and/or heavy fog once you reach the top of the mountain to enter MCR.

This past year we have experience several incidents where boaters, kayakers and hikers put themselves into dangerous situations basically due to them ignoring, or just not paying attention to weather conditions or abrupt weather changes during their excursion.

As stated in numerous boating and hiking websites, “Keeping an eye to the sky is an important part of planning any outdoor adventure. In many cases, both your safety and your enjoyment of the outdoor trip will depend entirely on the weather conditions. It is EXTREMELY important to check the weather forecast before you leave for your hike or from a boat ramp or dock – be aware that the weather can change very rapidly”.

With this in mind, MCR has placed a weather report that is updated daily through an online weather service on our main webpage. Note: this report provides basic weather information specific to the area around MCR.  Please check this and other weather forecast information sites before heading out on a hike or on watercraft, regardless of season, so that you can make an informed decision on what clothes to wear, gear to bring or simply if its just not a good day to come to MCR to recreate. Additionally, MCR does have a Wind Advisory System located atop the Inlet/Outlet Tower at the western side of the reservoir, however it is advisory in nature only.  This set of lights are not visible from all areas of the reservoir. They flash when winds are sustained at 25 mph for 5 seconds. If these lights are flashing, it is advised to go to the nearest shoreline. NOTE: wind speeds may differ on different parts of the reservoir.

Example of an overloaded kayak which crates an unsafe condition when on the water

Boaters/kayakers/canoers also please wear your life jackets and pay attention to your vessel’s capacity plate or sticker.  Look for a capacity plate near the operator’s position or on the transom of the boat/kayak. This plate indicates the maximum weight capacity and/or the maximum number of people that the watercraft can carry safely in good weather. You should not exceed either the stated maximum weight capacity or the maximum number of people. Also keep in mind the limits defined on capacity plates apply in good to moderate weather conditions. In rough waters (which does happen a lot at MCR in the open water), keep the weight well below the limit. In ideal weather conditions, it is recommended that you distribute your load evenly, keep weight low, and avoid abrupt changes in distribution.

Lastly it is mandatory at MCR that all kayakers and canoers must wear USCG approved life jackets at all times for all seasons while on the reservoir.  For boaters, it is highly recommended that all people wear USCG approved life jackets while operating a boat at MCR and children 12-years old and younger are required to wear life jackets at all times during all seasons.  However, please note that as of this year, NJ has passed a State wide law requiring, ALL people using watercraft less than 26 feet, including boats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, MUST wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times, outside of a cabin on a boat under 26 feet during the cold-water months, while in motion, from November 1st to May 1st.  Remember, life jackets only work if they are worn.

Weather Information for MCR now on the MCR Website