Routt authorities keep watch on rising rivers
April 6, 2006
Abundant snowpack, higher temperatures and rain have Routt County officials keeping a close eye on area streams and rivers.
In Hayden, Dry Creek spilled over its banks this week, prompting a flood warning that officials think will continue through the weekend.
“This is generally a larger-than-normal year, but nothing that hasn’t happened in the past,” Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said Thursday.
Still, county officials are warning people — particularly children — to stay away from running water.
Historically, high water levels are first noticed in the western part of Routt County, which experiences significant runoff from lower-elevation snowpack. However, high water levels already are noticeable in Steamboat Springs. Routt County Sheriff John Warner expects rising rivers and streams to be more prevalent next week.
The Yampa River’s flow rate in downtown Steamboat Springs was below historical averages for the first half of the week, but warm weather Wednesday pushed the stream flow significantly above that average.
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Martin said Dry Creek is flowing smoothly, but officials have plans in place if that changes.
“The only reason we are concerned about it is we can’t afford to have it go too much higher,” Martin said.
Dry Creek flows into Hayden from the southeast, passes through the Routt County Fairgrounds and exits on the western edge of town before draining into the Yampa.
Hayden’s Dry Creek Park flooded earlier this week, Martin said, and a trail in the park and the parking lot may need to be repaired as a result. However, Martin said there was no significant damage because most of the flooding was contained to empty fields.
Numerous state, county and local officials are monitoring the situation constantly, Martin said.
“It’s not a wall of water coming down,” Warner said. “It’s what I call high water.”
That high water will get even higher as the weather continues to warm.
“The weather is constantly changing,” Martin said. “The concern is that it will warm up this weekend.”
Meteorologist Dan Zumpfe with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction expected precipitation to end today. He said high temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 50s into early next week.