A typical Dreamflows river flow graph:

You may arrive at a River Flow Graph page from Dreamflows in a number of ways:

- Via a flow graph link on the Flow Graphs Index page.
- Via the blue ("place name") link associated with a flow site on a flow report page.
- By clicking on the image associated with a flow site on a cross-listing page.

The following applies (in this case the graph itself is blanked out to make it clearer what is being discussed):

The first line gives the Dreamflows **flow site** name (**So. American - At Chili Bar** in this case).
Clicking the
icon just to the right of **flow site** brings you to this help page.

The bold black entry on the **Show:** line tells you which graph is being displayed.
In this case it's displaying **4 days** of data.
The rest of the line offers you links to other graphs for this flow site.
The possible links are as follows:

- The
**Day**graph. The link name gives the number of days of historical data that will be displayed; often**4 days**(as shown above), but could be more. - The
**Month**graph. The link name gives the number of days of historical data that will be displayed; it's always**30 days**. - The
**Year**graph. The link name gives the number of years of historical data that will be displayed; it's always**3 years**. - The
**Averages**graph. This plots**weighted average**,**weighted median**and**minimum flow**for this flow site, all on the same graph. - The
**Fantasy**graph. This graph shows recent actual flows, plus several days of projected (future) flows. - The
**Panel**, which shows**Day**,**Month**,**Year**and**Averages**graphs for this flow site.

At the bottom of the page, the following links are possible:

**Fantasy Flows**(if present) links to the most appropriate fantasy flows report entry for this site.**Realtime Flows**(if present) links to the most appropriate realtime flows report entry for this site.**Daily Flows**links to the most appropriate daily flows report entry for this site.**Dreamflows Home**links to the Dreamflows home page.

__ Typical Flow Graph__:

The above graph is straightforward: the X-axis plots date/time, while the Y-axis plots flow. The Y-axis in this example plots river flow in cubic feet per second, as indicated by the red

The vertical line between **Past** and **Future** shows the time at which the graph was drawn.
Most gauges record flow information every 15 minutes, but transmit data in a group only every hour.
The result is there's often a gap between the end of the flow plot and the vertical line
(since the very latest information isn't available yet).

__ Estimated Flow Graph__:

Graphs of estimated flow sites are more complex:

The red plot is the

__ Symbolic Flow Graph__:

Sometimes, Dreamflows doesn't have enough information to estimate an actual flow value, but does have enough information to guess whether the flow is

In this case, the brown and purple horizontal lines split the vertical axis into three sections, and Dreamflows plots each data point next to the

__ Agency Flow Graph__:

Where reasonable, Dreamflows embeds agency-generated flow graphs on the

Note that Dreamflows provides a wrapper (with a title and links) around the agency graph, however the graph itself is drawn by the agency, not by Dreamflows.

The following applies:

This graph type is essentially the same as the Day graph,
the only real difference being the time scale.

The following applies:

This graph type is similar to the Day and Month graphs,
except:

- The time scale is for an entire year;
- Up to three years of data are shown, using three different colors;
- In the case of estimated flow sites, confidence limit lines aren't shown.

The following applies:

The red plot is a **weighted average**, which in this context means that for each day of the year being calculated,
the displayed value is the arithmetic mean for that day,
mixed in with arithmetic mean values from adjacent days to smooth the results somewhat.

The light blue plot is the **weighted median**, which in this context means that for each day of the year being calculated,
the displayed value is the median for that day,
mixed in with median values from adjacent days to smooth the results somewhat.

The dark blue plot shows the **minimum** value of the available data for that day.
When you see a generally low flow trend that has sudden higher spikes (see below),
it's reasonable to assume the low flow trend is the accurate one.

In each of the above plots,
computations for a given day of the year are usually performed on all the available average / median flow values for that day.
In that case, the average plot for Aug 1 (say) is the weighted average of all Aug 1 average values,
and the corresponding note will say "**Note: results are computed from the average/median flows for that day.**"

However, if the flow site is below a dam and the dam releases water on a daily cycle
(i.e. the flow changes dramatically during the day),
then the computations are usually performed on the instantaneous flow at some specific time during the day.
The time chosen matches the reported time for this flow site on the daily report (usually noon).
In that case, the average plot for Aug 1 (say) is the weighted average of all Aug 1 noontime values,
and the corresponding note will now say "**Note: results are computed from the noon flows for that day.**"

The above three plots are all computed over the specified range of years (2005 to 2016 in this example). Since only a limited amount of data is available (12 years here), all three graphs can be quite spiky. This is particularly true when some data is missing for a year which otherwise contributes significantly to the graph (since the missing data doesn't contribute the way it would if it were present).

The Y-axis in this example is river flow in cubic feet per second, as indicated by the red **(cfs)** legend.
Other graphs may plot gauge height in feet, which is indicated by a red **(feet)** legend instead.

While these graphs probably aren't accurate in detail, they should show clear general trends.

The name of this graph type is **Fantasy** to signify that this is projected (future) flow, not actual flow.
However, the quality of the data depends on what data is being displayed; it's not necessarily all fantasy.
The following are the main fantasy graph types:

__ Scheduled-Release Data__:

If the

then flow in the river is expected to be

__ NOAA/NWS Data__:

If the

then the flow predictions may indeed be largely fantasy.

__ Fantasy Prediction Model__:

If the

then Dreamflows is applying its usual

To belabor the point, the estimate for this flow site:

- on the realtime flows page
applies the Dreamflows
**statistical estimating model**to the USGS**realtime gage**on the**Smith - At Jedediah Smith**. This introduces only**one**level of error. - on the fantasy flows page
applies the Dreamflows
**statistical estimating model**to the NOAA**future estimating model**for the**Smith - At Jedediah Smith**. This introduces**two**levels of error.

Nevertheless, the plot should give a general idea of what to expect (for the above graph: flows rising, to alarming levels, over the next few days).