Runoff news

A picture named fryingpan

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Scott Condon):

Ruedi was considered “full” at about 10 a.m. Thursday and water started going through the spillway about two hours later, said Kara Lamb, public information specialist with the reclamation bureau. But releases from the Ruedi outlet infrastructure and the power plant at the dam were lowered to keep flows at about the same level as before the reservoir filled, she said. About 750 cubic feet per second was being released from Ruedi. Approximately 50 cfs was flowing from Rocky Fork Creek, just below the dam, for a combined flow of 800 cfs. “850 is where people start to get their property wet,” Lamb said.

Emergency response agencies from Basalt, Pitkin and Eagle counties met at 11 a.m. Thursday to consider if any flood preparations were necessary. They held a telephone conference call with Bureau of Reclamation officials and were surprised to learn the releases wouldn’t match inflows. “Full,” it seems, doesn’t really mean “full” at Ruedi. There is a higher capacity for the reservoir — beyond what is considered the operationally full level — that can be used by adjusting releases, Andrew Gilmore, a hydrologist with the reclamation bureau told the Roaring Fork Valley officials. “It sounds like we do have a buffer here,” Kane said after the meeting.

Lamb explained after the meeting that using the spillway and adjusting the other outlets allowed the reclamation bureau to avoid matching the inflow. “We’re able to slow it enough that it’s not a straight trade-off,” she said. Gilmore said high water releases will likely be required into Friday. After that, signs point to a lower level of runoff. Much lower temperatures are expected starting Friday night and through the weekend. In addition, officials said the high temperatures over the last week have melted a significant portion of the snowpack, even at high elevations…

Gilmore said the reclamation bureau wants the flexibility to boost total releases from Ruedi and Rocky Fork to 850 cfs, if local officials thought that could be done without causing flooding damage. Local officials responded that seemed possible, at least during daylight hours, when the Roaring Fork River’s flow has generally been lower than at night. No major releases are expected from reservoirs in the upper Roaring Fork River drainage for the next week. “I have no doubt we could go up to 850 [on the Fryingpan] without much difference,” Kane said after Thursday’s meeting.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

“Yes, the rivers are really cooking, they’re really moving and they’re full of water, but they seem to be handling it very well,” said Pat Bingham, a Pitkin County spokeswoman. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Kara Lamb said that while the threat of spilling isn’t over, inflows into the reservoir fell off sharply during the day. However, they tend to rise again following a day of snowmelt, and future inflows will depend on how much snow already has melted, and whether there are more warm temperatures or a lot of rain, she said…

Basalt’s situation was improved Thursday by the fact the Roaring Fork River had begun dropping. Lawrence believes it has passed its peak flow, reducing the chance of it backing up into the Frying Pan at their confluence and causing flooding…

Lawrence said while flows in headwater streams are dropping, it takes a while for that to be reflected downstream. Although he believes the Colorado River at Cameo reached its annual peak Tuesday night, at about 12.22 feet, it was expected to still surpass 12 feet Thursday night. Flood stage there is 12.5 feet.

From the Boulder Daily Camera (Vanessa Miller):

Silver Lake — which sits in Roosevelt National Forest, west of Colo. 72 between Nederland and Ward — is expected to spill over into Boulder Creek on Friday, said sheriff’s Cmdr. Rick Brough. Once that happens, water levels are expected to rise by 80 to 150 cubic feet per second, Brough said. Thursday afternoon, he said, Boulder Creek was running at about 629 cubic feet per second. On Wednesday, the creek was running at about 700 cubic feet per second, which was down from Tuesday when it was at 920 cubic feet per second, Brough said. On Tuesday, because of the high water levels and a bridge collapse up stream at the Red Lion Restaurant, authorities closed bike paths along the creek — from the Red Lion to 30th Street in Boulder — and stationed divers along the fast-moving stream. Normally, Boulder Creek runs at between 100 and 300 cubic feet per second, Brough said.

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