Steamboat Springs: Flooding in 1984 and a look ahead for 2011

A picture named cherrycreekflood08031933castlewooddamfailure.jpg

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

Winter 1983-84 was the season of 40 consecutive days and nights of heavy snow, and the ski season ended with 447.5 inches of the white stuff. And like it has in spring 2011, the snow kept on coming into May. All heck broke loose in the third week in May when the temperatures jumped into the 80s and a summer shower fell on top of the rotten snowpack. Butcherknife Creek flooded backyards in Old Town, and city officials were constantly checking the old Ninth Street footbridge over the Yampa River. On about May 24, the water was within inches of the old bridge, and the river peaked the next day at 5,670 cubic feet per second…

I’m not predicting a 30-foot wall of water this runoff season, but it might be wise to take some precautions. Personally, I’m keeping my irrigation boots and my chest waders in the back of the vehicle for the rest of spring. Jay Wetzler, owner and operator of the Steamboat Hotel on the city’s south side, bought flood insurance last month to protect his property from the possibility that either Walton Creek or the Yampa River might show up this month for a repeat performance. “It was expensive, but we’ve seen so much development in the floodplain, there’s no way to tell what’s going to happen,” he said.

Leave a Reply