Runoff news: The Elk River sets a new all-time record for streamflow

A picture named elkriver.jpg

From the Associated Press via

U.S. Geological Survey official Michael Lewis said Wednesday that the Elk River near Steamboat Springs surpassed an all-time record with a preliminary flow rate of 8,250 cubic feet per second on Tuesday. At that rate, Lewis said the river could fill an Olympic-sized pool in about 11 seconds. Lewis said water levels like that are only seen every 400 or 500 years. The previous record was set exactly one year before when the river peaked at 6,970 cubic feet per second.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The county reported flows of 1070 cubic feet per second on the Big Thompson River in Loveland on Tuesday, and flows were in the mid-700s in Estes Park, with no flooding to report. Additional releases from the dam boosted the canyon flow to around 900 cfs, according to an email from Erik Nilsson, emergency manager with the county. Kevin Gingery, senior civil engineer for the city of Loveland, last week said minor flooding in Loveland won’t be a concern until water levels reach closer to 1,400 cfs…

The level of the Poudre River continues to rise as high temperatures melt the region’s unusually heavy snowpack. By Tuesday afternoon, the river was running at about 2,500 cubic feet per second, or cfs, through Fort Collins…

Near the mouth of Poudre Canyon, the river was running at or above 3,000 cfs much of Tuesday.

From (Cecile Juliette):

According to the National Weather Service, as of 9:00am Wednesday, the Colorado River at Cameo is at 13.2 feet, flood stage is at 12.5. Meteorologists say the level is approaching moderate flood stage. As of 8:45am Wednesday, the Colorado River near the Colorado/Utah border measures 15.05 feet, which is just above flood stage.

From the Pagosa Sun:

At 10 a.m. Monday the stage was 7.8 feet. Bankfull stage is 7 feet and flood stage is 9 feet. The forecast is that the river level will rise to near 8.1 feet around midnight today, Tuesday. Impact is experienced at 8 feet and water is expected to approach the low-lying areas at the River Center complex on the east end of the town of Pagosa Springs.

The [National Weather Service] indicates that snowmelt runoff will increase today along the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs and that the river will remain high and fast. Minor lowland flooding is to be expected.

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

The water level in Dillon Reservoir reached its lowest level of the runoff season June 1, dropping to an elevation of 8,992.45 feet — about 25 feet below full pool. At that level, the reservoir holds 187,916 acre feet of water. Since then, the water has started to rise again.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The Yampa was flowing at 21,900 cubic feet per second at Deer Lodge Park in Moffat County at 7:15 a.m. Monday compared to 4,260 cfs in downtown Steamboat. At 5:15 p.m., it was holding at 21,800 cfs. A significant contributor to the Yampa’s significant volume in far Northwest Colorado is the Little Snake, which was carrying 7,350 cfs at 7:15 a.m., a flow that dwarfed its median for the date of 2,420 cfs. By 5:15 p.m. the Little Snake had slipped to 6,480, presumable before gathering steam overnight as melting snow made its way to western Moffat County.

The Little Snake River measuring site at Lilly Park, just before its confluence with the Yampa, was among five such sites in Northwest Colorado reflecting records for the date Monday morning. The list included the Elk River near Milner, which was flowing at 6,670 cfs late Monday morning after hitting its peak at 6,860 cfs at 2:30 a.m. The flow in the Elk stood at 6,210 cfs by late afternoon…

Other river sites establishing daily flow records today include the Yampa at Maybell, west of Craig, at 15,500 cfs; Slater Fork in extreme northeastern Moffat County, flowing 1,690 cfs (the median for the date is 318 cfs); and the Little Snake River near Slater, flowing at 3,750 cfs.

From Steamboat Today:

A measuring station at the Routt County Road 42 bridge measured the peak at 7,520 cubic feet per second at 4:45 a.m. “Preliminarily, that is a new peak of record,” said Michael Lewis, associate director of the USGS Colorado Water Science Center…

The record is based on about 40 years’ worth of data. The data are from 1904 to 1927 and 1990 to 2010. The gap represents a period when the measuring station was not operated, Lewis said. The record breaks the record that was set last year, when the Elk peaked at 6,970 cfs on June 8…

The Yampa River in downtown Steamboat is expected to remain close to its current Fifth Street Bridge height of 7 feet through Sunday. The river was flowing at about 4,500 cfs Tuesday afternoon, shy of its peak so far this spring of 4,780 cfs at 11:15 p.m. Monday. The record for the Yampa, according the USGS, is 6,820 cfs.

Leave a Reply