USGS Water Watch: Colorado streamflow map

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Click here for the USGS’ Water Watch website showing the map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow. Click on the thumbnail graphic to the right for the Google map for tonight at 9:00 p.m.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project update

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Update: From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

At this time (3 p.m., June 7), we are increasing our releases from the Olympus Dam to the Lower Big Thompson again. We are going up approximately 130 cfs from 921 to 1050 cfs.

The 1050 cfs release is anticipated to remain through the afternoon and night and potentially into tomorrow. However, there remains a possibility that we could bump up releases again tonight, depending on the inflows coming into Lake Estes.

Some might also notice that we have done a gate change. We are now releasing from all five gates instead of just one. This provides some additional operational flexibility for us.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As you have probably already noticed, we are releasing 924 cfs from Olympus Dam to the Lower Big Thompson. We increased our releases late last night/early this morning around 3 a.m. It has been a busy weekend as we are seeing the Big Thompson River hit its annual spring peak from snow melt run-off. The heat we have been receiving melts the snow in the high elevations during the day. Travel times deliver that run-off to the Big Thompson River at night. We will continue the 924 cfs release through the morning, with a possible increase later this afternoon to 980 cfs. It is likely we will see this level of release from Olympus Dam through tonight and into tomorrow. When the snowmelt run-off starts to drop off, we will see our releases drop down as well.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update

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Update: From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

We are still anticipating high inflows to Ruedi Reservoir over the next few nights due to melting snow. As a result, we will increase releases from the dam to the Fryingpan River twice tomorrow. Both increases will be in 50 cfs increments. The first increase will be at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. That will put the river at 292 cfs. The second release increase will be tomorrow afternoon around 5 p.m. It will put the ‘Pan at 342 cfs (assuming the Rocky Fork continues in the upper-40 cfs range).

The Ruedi Weather Station Website is also tracking reservoir elevations: www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/ruediweatherstation.html

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

This morning, we will begin increasing our releases from Ruedi to balance the snowmelt run-off coming into Ruedi Reservoir. It is possible we will increase releases again over the next few days. At 9:00 a.m., we will bump releases from the dam to the Fryingpan River up by 50 cfs. We will increase another 50 cfs. at 10:00 a.m. Rocky Fork Creek is currently running at about 54 cfs. This together with our two release increases will put a total of 248 cfs down the Fryingpan River, as measured by the gage below Ruedi Dam. Ruedi Reservoir is currently at a water elevation of 7760–about six vertical feet down from full.

For direct links to additional Ruedi information, please visit our Ruedi Website at www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/ruedi.html.

To access the daily data from the Ruedi Weather Station, please visit www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/ruediweatherstation.html.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas coverage here.

Runoff news: Flood warning for areas of northern Colorado

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From the Loveland Connection (Molly Armbrister):

Temperatures around Estes Park are expected to rise into the mid-80s today and the upper-70s through the rest of this week, melting the mountain snowpack. There also is a slight chance of thunderstorms that could include heavy rain every day this week. The town on Saturday and Sunday placed sand bags in several spots along the Big Thompson. Much of Northern Colorado remains in a flood warning because of heavy mountain runoff. The flood advisory took effect at 2 p.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

From The Denver Post (Tom McGhee/Joey Bunch):

The meltoff caused flooding in several parts of the state Sunday, including shutting down Colorado Highway 82, which connects Twin Lakes to Aspen over Independence Pass…

Rivers are raging in many of the area’s most popular recreational spots, include the [Eagle] River below Gypsum, which set a record for streamflow Sunday at 5,750 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The former record was 4,960 cfs, and the 63-year mean flow for the river on June 6 is 2,410 cfs. The Arkansas River at Nathrop also set a new high: 4,150 cfs, shattering the old record of 3,.220 cfs set in 1997. The 39-year mean is 1,830 cfs. Many rivers are running way above normal because of the high heat and fast melting. The Big Thompson and Fall rivers both were close to overflowing their banks this weekend…

The NWS in Grand Junction has issued flood warnings due to melting snow in Eagle County until 8 p.m. Monday. There was minor flooding in and around Vail on Saturday night but the waters receded this morning. Flooding was also reported along the Eagle River near Minturn and near Gypsum, according to the NWS…

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office closed Boulder Creek to all watercraft from Barker Dam east of Nederland to the Weld County line, north or Erie. The ban includes rafts and inner tubes; kayaks and white-water canoes are exempt by law. In announcing the closure, the sheriff noted that Boulder Creek is flowing at 857 cfs, when a normal flow is between 100 and 300 cfs.

From 9News.com (Anastasiya Bolton):

The Big Thompson is a couple of feet higher than usual. The water is running very fast and has flooded a small portion of the post office parking lot in town.

Here’s some video from the Estes Park News.

From the Vail Daily:

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Eagle County until 8 p.m. today, and area creeks and rivers are at or nearing flood levels. Several areas of the county experienced minor flooding early Sunday. All community members are advised to stay away from waterways; banks are unstable and can collapse without notice. Rafting, kayaking, fishing and other water activities are highly discouraged due to the amount of debris in the rivers. River levels typically peak daily between 2 and 4 a.m.

From KKTV.com (Rick Montanez):

Some of the rapids seen on the Arkansas River are not named, because river guides in the area have never seen them before. “We’ve got debris coming down, entire trees coming down, waves where there were never waves,” said Michelle Fletcher, a river guide for Canyon Marine. “It’s just phenomenal.”

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The Cache la Poudre River is expected to rise to more than 6 feet tonight, with minor flooding possible in LaPorte, according to the National Weather Service. Minor overbank flow from the Poudre has been reported in rural areas between Fort Collins and Greeley. Minor high water issues due to high flows are also being reported along St. Vrain Creek tributaries upstream of Lyons in Boulder County. The flood advisory took effect at 2 p.m. today and is set to expire at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. It covers Larimer County, Boulder County and west-central Weld County.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The advisory is in effect until 1:15 p.m. Tuesday for west-central Weld County, Boulder and Larimer counties. Rivers and creeks remaining in the advisory include he Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson rivers and their tributaries in Larimer County; St. Vrain and Boulder creeks and their tributaries in Boulder County; and the Cache la Poudre River in rural areas of Weld County between Fort Collins and Greeley.

From the Dolores Star via the Cortez Journal (Shannon Livick):

[McPhee Reservoir] is full at 6,924 feet, and on Wednesday the elevation was 6,924.08. “We are trying to stay right at 6,924,” said Mike Preston, manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District. Since the lake is currently full, the release on the Lower Dolores is basically the Upper Dolores River’s inflow, minus the irrigation demand. On Wednesday, the release on the Lower Dolores was 805 cubic feet per second and the Upper Dolores was running at 1,720 cfs. But the release on the Lower Dolores likely will begin to get smaller as the Upper Dolores trends down and irrigation demands increase, Preston said. The Upper Dolores through the town reached a high point on Saturday at 3,510 cfs.

From the Sky-Hi Daily News:

The Sky-Hi News is receiving widespread reports of flooding along the Fraser River this morning, from above and in Winter Park to Granby.