Fri June 10, 2011

Flooding Near Steamboat Springs Causes Headaches, no Emergencies Yet

Rivers in northern and western Colorado continue to swell as Colorado’s record snowpack melts amid rising June temperatures.  Residents along the Eagle River downstream of Vail were bracing for more flooding Friday, as is much of the Steamboat Springs area.

Standing at the banks of what is a raging Yampa River on the western edge of Steamboat Springs, one looks out at a wall of white water.  The river is nearly at flood stage here, but it’s actually downstream where it converges with the Elk River where most of the flooding has been.

“It’s Mother Nature, I think when we started setting records for snowfall we all knew this was a possibility,”

Says Routt County’s Emergency Management Director, Bob Struble.

The Elk River surpassed an all-time record high this week.  From here, the river spreads out into fields where cattle would typically be grazing.  Water has flooded a group of outbuildings near a vacation home.

“What none of us saw coming though was how long it was going to hang on,” says Struble.

He expects the flooding to continue for another three weeks at least – because it’s still basically winter on the tops of much of the surrounding mountains.  So far only minor damage has been reported to numerous homes in this area.  Many area roads are in worse shape though due to some mudslides.  But Struble says compared to other states in the region like Montana and Nebraska, flooding here has so far been just an inconvenience.

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