Runoff/snowpack news: The Yampa River is likely to reach flood stage the week of June 4, Clear Creek is coming up some

A picture named yampabelowsodacreekatsteamboat05302011

Here’s the link to the gage reading Yampa River below Soda Creek at Steamboat from the USGS via the Colorado Division of Water Resources. Here’s a report from Tom Ross writing for Steamboat Today. From the article:

“We see a big warmup as a ridge of high pressure settles over Colorado next week and we’re projecting a strong chance that the Yampa there exceeds flood stage by next week,” Greg Smith said. “Temperatures could be 10 degrees above average, and if that forecast verifies, we could see a lot of rivers off to the races.”[…]

Mike Chamberlain, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said he foresees daily highs in the range of 75 to 77 degrees settling in by the middle of the coming week. He cautioned that the forecast could change, particularly if a southeast flow brings more clouds to Northwest Colorado than currently anticipated. Smith said a change of 4 to 5 degrees in temperature could significantly change the rate of snowmelt…

Strautins said that given the amount of snowpack held this late into the year, it’s not unreasonable to think Steamboat might set a new record for the peak flow. NOAA’s forecast for the Yampa River in Steamboat assigns a 90 percent change that the river will exceed 5,200 cfs, a 75 percent chance that it will exceed 5,500 cfs, and a 50 percent chance that it will exceed 6,000 cfs. The chances of peak flows exceeding 7,000 cfs are 25 percent, and there remains a 10 percent chance the river could exceed 8,000 cfs. The U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA differ on the all-time peak flow in the Yampa. The latter puts it at 5,870 cfs, but the USGS shows the Yampa peaking as high as 6,820 cfs (a gauge height of just 6.64 feet) on June 14, 1921. It’s almost a certainty that the channel of the river in the town stretch has changed during the intervening 90 years. The highest peak in recent years was 5,310 cfs (7.65 feet) on June 3, 1997…

The snowpack at the Tower measuring site at 10,500 feet on Buffalo Pass actually increased at times during the week that just ended. The snow depth jumped from 178 inches on May 20 to 194 inches the next day after a 16-inch snowstorm, according to automated gauges operate by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The snowpack there gave up 23 inches of depth due to settling and possible melting by May 25, then added a fresh 8 inches on May 26. The 79.3 inches of water stored there is 171 percent of average. At the base of Buffalo Pass at Dry Lake Campground, the 27.8 inches of water is 772 percent of the typical 3.6 inches of water for this date. That measurement is influenced by the fact that snow at Dry Lake’s 8,400-foot elevation is usually all but melted by this date.

A picture named clearcreekatgoldenstreamflow05302011

Meanwhile Clear Creek is coming up some since yesterday. Here’s the link to the stream gage Clear Creek at Golden. Flows are still under the median for this date by 70-80cfs.

From 9News.com (Lori Obert/Will Ripley):

9NEWS meteorologist Marty Coniglio says the flooding threat this week is very high and flood-prone areas, including Clear Creek, could be at-risk…

“It’s probably a good idea to get together with your neighbors and start making a plan,” Coniglio said. “Because we’re going to start seeing water running very high and it’s going to happen fast by the end of the week.”

From The Denver Post (Joey Bunch):

Metro temperatures could soar to the 90s by midweek…

Western Colorado has a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of above-average temperatures through August, according to the Climate Prediction Center. The Front Range, southeast plains and northern mountains has a 33.3 percent to 40 percent of above average readings, while the outlook for northeast Colorado is still uncertain. Whether Colorado receives more or less rain over the next three months is still undetermined, however.

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