#Runoff news: Big water in the #ColoradoRiver, #snowpack is mostly melted out

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Statewide snowpack in the major river basins hit 207 percent of the median — 332 percent in the South Platte River Basin and 288 percent in the Colorado River Basin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s latest survey.

But those high percentages are common this time of year after months of steady melting, said Kevin Houck, chief of watershed and flood protection for the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

“There’s just not much snow left to melt,” Houck said.

“There’s nothing to worry about anywhere in the state. It’s supposed to cool down, and that should slow down the snow melting substantially,” he said. “There’s some care that needs to be taken for recreational activities. But for flooding, I see no reason to be concerned right now.”

[…]

In Colorado, the Cache la Poudre River at the mouth of its canyon west of Fort Collins was flowing at a depth of 6.1 feet, well below the flood stage depth of 7.5 feet, a state gauge showed. On the Arkansas River near La Junta, water levels hit 10.9 feet and forecasters anticipated the river will reach the flood stage of 11 feet…

Larimer, Boulder and Jefferson county authorities discouraged waterway play this week due to potentially dangerous currents.

Colorado emergency managers were focused on how much snow still sits on the high country and the potential for heavy rainstorms in the coming weeks.

“We’re watching it,” said Micki Trost, spokeswoman for Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “But we haven’t had severe flooding yet because we haven’t had that combination of rapid snow melt combined with heavy precipitation.”

Colorado’s significant snowfall during winter, combined with steady melting since March, has helped fill water storage reservoirs for farmers and cities.

“For water supply,” Houck said, “this is turning into a pretty good year with a lack of any major flooding.”

From the Associated Press (Scott Smith and Hallie Golden) via The Colorado Springs Gazette:

In Utah and Wyoming, some rivers gorged by heavy winter snowfall have overflown their banks, and rivers in Utah are expected to remain dangerously swollen with icy mountain runoff for several more weeks…

And in Wyoming, officials have placed sandbags and flood barriers to protect homes and public infrastructure from rivers and streams swollen with the snowmelt.

From KOAA.com:

Fremont County Search and Rescue has issued a warning about dangerously strong currents in the Arkansas River.

Fremont SAR says on their Facebook page that the water is now at a level that makes it very difficult for crews to safely put boats in the water for rescues, and that any rescue attempts must be made from the shore.

They’re advising everyone to be extremely careful when on or near the river. Even just putting your feet in the water could be dangerous with such a strong current.

Rafting and kayaking are still technically allowed, but proper gear and life vests are vital. Pueblo Fire Department had to rescue three people who were ejected from a raft on the river just last week, and none of them were wearing life vests.

The Arkansas River over near Moffat Street is flowing from the Pueblo Reservoir at 3,000 feet per second, which is an extremely high amount of water in a very short amount of time. Along with runoff from the mountains and a very wet spring, the Pueblo Dam has started releasing more water downstream.

Statewide snowpack June 12, 2017 via the NRCS.

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