Runoff news: Forecast calls for rain Friday or Saturday

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From The Denver Post (Joey Bunch):

Today’s break in the fast, heavy flows is probably a result of Tuesday’s cooler weather, “but it may be short-lived,” said Trest Huse, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service Office in Boulder. Recent temperatures that have been 10 to 15 degrees higher than usual are expected to drop, but an inch of rain is expected east of the Continental Divide, including the Front Range, Friday afternoon to early Saturday.

From the Summit County Citizen’s Voice:

“The inflow to Dillon Reservoir has risen dramatically over the last few days. The average inflow on June 3 was 1,157 cfs, but by June 6 it was up to 2,086 cfs. The current inflow is considerably higher than the forecasted peak, and the flows seem to be rising,” said Bob Steger, manager of raw water supply for Denver Water.

“Dillon Reservoir is currently spilling, and we are concurrently releasing about 300 cfs through the outlet works. The total outflow is currently 1700 cfs and rising. Although we are trying to moderate the outflow by gradually reducing the discharge through the outlet works as the spillage increases, it seems likely that the total outflow will exceed 1,800 cfs, which is the number we attempt to stay below,” Steger added.

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From the Summit County Citizen’s Voice:

“We were able to open the Roberts Tunnel Sunday night because we had a need for water,” said Denver Water’s Bob Steger. As of Tuesday morning, about 350 cfs were flowing through the tunnel, helping to reduce the outflow into the Lower Blue. Steger said he’s not sure how long Denver Water will continue to divert through the Roberts Tunnel. “We only take water when we need it,” he said.

All the major tributaries feeding the Blue surged to near-record levels recently as the snowpack melted all at once. Steger said he suspects a combination of dust on the snow, dead lodgepoles and the first extended warm spell of the spring combined to send the flows spiking to levels far above what was forecast.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

Joe Sullivan, a supervisory hydrologic technician with the U.S. Geological Survey office in Grand Junction, confirmed Wednesday that the Yampa River likely peaked in Steamboat Springs at 2,920 cubic feet per second at 11:30 p.m. May 30. However, Sullivan held out the possibility that lingering snowpack and a forecast of temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s Friday through Sunday still could push the Yampa to a new 2010 peak.

From Steamboat Today (Zach Fridell):

Hydrologist Bryon Lawrence of the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction forecast office, said the Elk River crested at 7.95 feet at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, with a flow of 6,340 cubic feet per second. The river is measured where it crosses Routt County Road 42. The flood stage for the Elk River is 7.5 feet, and water is spilling over the banks onto ranchland in several areas…

The Yampa River, measured at the Fifth Street Bridge, crested at about midnight and surpassed the high water mark measured Sunday, Lawrence said, with an observed peak of 6.72 feet and a flow of 4,317 cfs. The bankfull stage on the Yampa is 6.5 feet, and flood stage is 7.5 feet. Tuesday’s reading is the second time in the past three days the Yampa River has reached a seven-year high.

From the Vail Daily (Lauren Glendenning) via Steamboat Today:

The [Eagle River] crested at 9.3 feet, and had been flowing at 7,240 cubic feet per second, according to a U.S. Geological Survey gauge there. Typical peak flow this time of year is about half that — 3,600 cubic feet per second, Lawrence said. Flood stage is 9 feet. “Unofficially, this is the second highest flow on the Eagle River in Gypsum on record since we’ve had that gauge site there,” he said. Records date back to 1947. The highest the river ever reached was 9.46 feet May 25, 1984, Lawrence said. During that flood, the river’s pace was actually a bit slower than this past flood stage. The river was down to 9.1 feet by Tuesday morning in Gypsum. The Eagle River will be high during the next several days, but it should stay within its banks except in some agricultural areas, Lawrence said.

From the Snowmass Sun

The Roaring Fork River below Aspen was big on Monday. Just how big was anyone’s guess, but it didn’t really matter to those willing to paddle the swollen torrent of chocolate water thundering over Slaughterhouse Falls. The Slaughterhouse gauge indicated that section of the Roaring Fork topped 6,000 cubic feet per second sometime in the wee hours of Monday and was running at 5,700 cfs at about 9:30 a.m. However, the gauge at Emma, below the Roaring Fork’s confluence with the Fryingpan, showed a lower flow, suggesting a malfunction with the Slaughterhouse gauge. Nonetheless, the river wasn’t for the meek. “It’s just crazy raging,” said Jim Ingram, owner of Aspen Whitewater Rafting.

From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon) via the Sky-Hi Daily News:

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the Crystal River above Redstone on Sunday. “Flows on the Crystal River are expected to remain high through Tuesday as warmer-than-normal temperatures result in rapid snow melt,” the weather service statement said. Flood stage on that stretch of river is 5 feet, the advisory said. The river was at 4.3 feet on Sunday evening and was supposed to rise to about 4.9 feet after midnight this morning. The Crystal near Redstone was flowing at 1,680 cubic feet per second (cfs) Sunday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That was well below the high for the date of 2,550 cfs recorded in 1958, according to the USGS.

The Roaring Fork River was also flowing at a high level Sunday. It was at 3,210 cfs at Emma, a high over the past 12 years, according to the geological survey. The previous high for the date was 2,530 in 2008.

From The Denver Post (Christina Dickinson and Becky Ditchfield):

Flood advisories remain in effect for portions of the Cache La Poudre River in Larimer and Weld Counties, and for the South Platte River in Weld County. Portions of the Big Thompson and Saint Vrain Rivers are also under advisories in Boulder and Larimer Counties.

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