The Colorado Water Conservation Board releases their ‘Snowmelt Flood Preparation Status Update’

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You can download the document here. Here’s the introduction:

The 2011 flood season in Colorado is fast approaching, and much attention has been focused on the quantity of snowpack within certain areas of the state. Although floods can occur any time of the year in Colorado, the height of flood season generally occurs from May 1st through September 30th. Preparations have already started to address the high snowpack existing in the Colorado’s high country.

Since January, the CWCB’s Watershed and Flood Protection Section has been monitoring snowpack throughout the state. GIS-based maps have been prepared showing the areal extent of the snowpack as well as percent of historical averages within the river basins. These maps are posted to the CWCB’s Flood Decision Support System (DSS) website and are updated regularly. Please visit http://flooddss.state.co.us/ to access those maps and a significant amount of other helpful information related to flooding in Colorado.

Tables have been prepared that summarize the areas of highest snowmelt flood potential. As of April 21st the watersheds of greatest concern are in the North Platte River Basin, the Yampa and White River Basins, the Colorado River Mainstem Basin, and the South Platte River Basin. As of that date, each of these entire river basins show snowpack greater than 129% of average, with individual readings as high as 223% at localized levels. Certain watersheds in the Gunnison River Basin and the Arkansas River Basin also exceed 130%, although these watersheds as a whole are displaying values closer to historical averages.

The Colorado Flood Task Force met in March of this year, with another meeting scheduled for May 11th. This meeting, chaired by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, assembles engineers, meteorologists, climate experts, federal agencies, state and local officials, emergency managers, and other interested parties to exchange data and discuss plans for the upcoming flood season. It is anticipated that much attention at this meeting will focus on what, if any, actions are needed to address the upcoming snowmelt season. Snowmelt flooding has been known to occur in Colorado any time from late April to early July, depending on weather conditions.

Outreach regarding the availability of flood insurance within communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program has been ongoing. Special note should be made to prospective policy holders of the 30-day waiting period before the insurance becomes effective.

A number of meetings and workshops have already been scheduled throughout the state, and more are being considered at the request of local communities. These workshops will focus on emergency preparedness and flood insurance. As this calendar is continually being updated, interested parties should contact the CWCB at 303-866-3441 for a current list of scheduled meetings.

Four attachments provide background information, current geographic areas of concern, actions being taken at all levels, and Colorado flood history.

More CWCB coverage here.

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