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Flood Threat Rises in Northwest Colorado

Flooding along Gore Creek in June 2010.
Colorado Water Conservation Board
Flooding along Gore Creek in June 2010.

The risk of flooding from mountain snowpack is expected to pick up this week as temperatures climb to some of the highest of the season.

TheColorado Water Conservation Board says the prime area of concern is the northwestern part of the state.

“Steamboat especially, the Yampa River through there is already elevated so that’s going to be something that we’re watching very closely. Many of the streams in northwest Colorado, I think, are going to pick up later this week,” says CWCB flood section engineer Kevin Hauk.

With a record snowpack all it will take are a few consecutive warm days for streams and rivers to possibly flow out of their banks. Hauk says temperatures will start warming up on Tuesday.

“We’re going to see probably the warmest temperatures that we’ve seen so far this year. It’s going to last a couple of days, then it should cool down back down to a bit more normal temperatures for a day or two after that and then it looks like it’s going to heat right back up.”

Rivers east of the Continental Divide are running low and Hauk says it would take several days of melting to get them up to flood levels. It’s a different story on the western slope were a number of rivers are already flowing very high.


Email: brian.larson@kunc.org