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As Water Rises, Greeley Officials Keep Close Eye On Poudre River

Grace Hood
A view of Rover Run Dog Park on F Street in Greeley, June 2, 2014.

Some Greeley residents got a surprise call Sunday night from the Greeley Fire Department giving notice of voluntary evacuations near the Poudre River.

Update: 6:10 pm

Greeley officials have added another voluntary evacuation notice. The boundaries are:

  • 5th Street on the north (includes addresses on both sides of the street);
  • 7th Street on the south (includes addresses on both sides of the street);
  • 6th Avenue on the west (includes addresses on both sides of the street);
  • the  Poudre River on the east.

Residents in this area were also contacted. This is in addition to the voluntary evacuation mentioned below.
From 12:45 pm:

The river, both upstream from and in Greeley, rose from Saturday, May 31 until just after noon Sunday, prompting city officials to warn of the potential for low lying areas to fill and overflow.

About 200 homes and businesses within the following boundariesreceived the voluntary evacuation notice around 11:00 p.m. Sunday:

  • F Street on the north
  • 2nd Street on the south
  • 35th Avenue on the west
  • 25th Avenue on the east

The Weld County Sheriff’s office issued a reminder to residents that it’s illegal to bypass roadblocks or barricades put in place for public safety reasons. The city is updating a full list of street closures here.

East of Greeley, the Poudre River has already filled up the Varra Gravel Pit. Public Works Director Joel Hemesath said in the early hours of June 2, the city began using Poudre Ponds to absorb some of the flows.

"The gravel pits have been a blessing for us here," Hemesath said.


City officials are watching river levels closely. Right now, levels aren’t coming down as quickly as they’d like.

"We’re starting to get to a flow that we don’t have a lot of historical experience with," Hemesath said. "So we’re not sure where all the water will drain out through these low lying areas."

Flooding along the Poudre is typical for this time of year – but Greeley spokesman John Pantaleo said it may be more pronounced because of the amount of snow the mountains received this season.

"During high snowpack years, there’s definitely an impact on Greeley related to that snowmelt," said Pantaleo. "A lot of it depends on the weather conditions as that snow melts."

Greeley officials anticipate the current high levels will persist for a few more days, but they don't expect another event like September's historic flooding.

"This is a slow moving event, so there won’t be flash flooding as far as we know,” Pantaleo said. “More likely it will be the slow rise of the river water outside of its banks in some areas. So we’re asking people to be prepared to move if they’re close to the river, and they know that where they live or have a business is prone to flooding."

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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