Runoff/snowpack news: Cache la Poudre a foot above flood stage (Sun.) in Greeley

Click on a thumbnail graphic for a gallery of snowpack data from last Thursday. There has been a lot of melting since then.

From The Greeley Tribune:

The Poudre River flowed at approximately 9 feet high in the Greeley area Sunday, about a foot higher than flood stage but not any higher than Saturday’s levels.

Joel Hemesath, director of public works in Greeley, said the city is still monitoring the roads, but there are no condition changes since Saturday night. He said the river hit 9 feet Sunday morning and held steady there throughout the afternoon. Several areas are close to flooding, and it wouldn’t take much to push them over.

County spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said at 3:30 p.m. Sunday she had received word of three additional closures in the area. County Road 3 is closed between county roads 36 and 8, Fern Avenue in Greeley is closed between 8th and 16th streets and County Road 13 is closed from County Road 68 1/2 to Colo. 392.

Flooding on the river closed another major road early Sunday. About 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced that Colo. 257 on the southeast side of Windsor was closed. It has been closed between Crossroads Boulevard and Eastman Park Drive because of water over the highway, and there is no estimated time of reopening.

From The Denver Post (Eric Gorski):

Another band of storms brought minor flooding and nickel-sized hail Saturday to parts of the Front Range, but the next few days are expected to be warm and dry, providing relief to flood-prone areas.

More than a dozen Colorado counties were under flood warnings or advisories Saturday because of the threat of heavy rain combined with the peak of the high-country snowmelt.

The Cache la Poudre River was the main point of concern, with two flood warnings issued near Greeley and west of Fort Collins.

Minor flooding was reported on eight to 10 houses on McConnell and Green Ridge drives along the river in Laporte. Nick Christensen of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said no evacuations had been ordered.

The Cache la Poudre was a foot above its 7.5-foot flood stage Saturday afternoon, is expected to crest at 8.4 feet Sunday morning and likely won’t dip below flood stage until Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Downstream in Greeley, Weld County officials were surprised Saturday morning when the stream-flow readings on the Cache la Poudre in the city suddenly dropped from more than 3,300 cubic feet per second to a comparative trickle — 120 cfs.

Investigators from the city of Greeley Water Department and Weld County Emergency Management discovered the river had breached the Varra Gravel Pit east of Greeley.

The water was flowing into the pit, and once filled was expected to flow across a field and back into the riverbed, officials said in a release.

There was no threat to homes, they said.

In El Paso County, a fast-moving storm dumped hail and caused minor street flooding in Colorado Springs.

A small stream and river flood advisory will remain in effect until 9:15 a.m. Monday for Jackson and Grand counties

Jim Kalina, a Boulder-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said a dry southwestern flow should push the moist air east out of Colorado starting Sunday.

In metro Denver, expect temperatures in the 80s and little chance of precipitation through Tuesday, he said. There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday and Friday with forecast highs in the mid-70s.

From the Cañon City Daily Record (Brandon Hopper):

The Arkansas River water levels continue to soar past over the 3,200 cubic feet per second mark. As I type, they’ve just met 4,000 cfs. This means commercial rafting companies are advised by the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area not to boat the Royal Gorge section of the river…

The highest the water has been in the last 59 years of data on May 30 was in 1984 when it reached 4,260. That (probably) won’t happen in the next five hours. The May 31, 1984, mark was 4,540. In June 1984, the first eight days of readings went like this: 4,650; 4,820; 4,430; 4,190; 3,880; 3,480; 3,290; 2,750. My hypothesis is that we’ll break at least one of those days’ records.

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