Mon June 20, 2011

Flooding Risk Down, But Rivers Still High in Colorado

While the risk of flooding due to this year’s record snowpack has diminished somewhat - state and county emergency officials remain on alert for the possibility of flooding from other sources.

Warm temperatures across the high country this week will continue to melt the snowpack and cause high stream flows. Several rivers in Jackson and Grand Counties are already running high because of snowmelt and rainfall over the weekend.

But the most devastating floods historically have been from flash flooding caused by torrential rainstorms in late spring or early summer.

“Snowmelt flooding is a little bit more predictable.  It tends to be better behaved,” says Tom Browning, Colorado’s chief of watershed and flood protection.  “We don’t see entire communities being washed downstream… that’s just not the type of situation this would bring.”

But Browning says slower flooding from snowmelt can still pose problems including washed-out roads, bridges and trails, or standing water in parks and backyards.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service say high stream flows are expected along the upper Arkansas River from Leadville to the Pueblo Reservoir through the middle of the week.  

Earlier today, the NWS issued a flash flood advisory for the Poudre River near Greeley, as well as for the South Platte River at Henderson in Adams County and near Kersey in Weld County.

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