Grand County flood advisory is extended in Grand County to Thursday
May 30, 2014
With rivers already running high and temperatures expected to rise, the National Weather Service has extended a small-stream flood advisory for Grand County until 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 29.
Nowell Curran with Grand County's Office of Emergency Management said her office gave the go ahead to extend the advisory due to a possible increase of runoff into the already swollen Upper Colorado River and its tributaries.
"The rivers and the reservoirs are high right now and are expected to get higher in the next couple of days," she said.
Curran said her office has bolstered communication with law enforcement, town public works and Grand County Road and Bridge to monitor roadways in the county and to identify alternate routes for problem areas.
"To have this well-rounded communication is what's going to be key to how we respond to anything that happens here in Grand County," Curran said.
Grand County Road and Bridge is currently on high alert for the Colorado River for the rest of the week, said Ken Haynes, Grand County Road and Bridge superintendent.
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His office just finished repairs on a section of County Road 57 that was inundated by the Fraser River on Sunday, May 25.
"We're also getting a lot of smaller culverts in the mountain subdivisions that are getting pretty full," Haynes said.
Curran said each of the county's towns has identified bridges and roadways that are susceptible to flooding.
Haynes said his office is keeping an eye on County Road 491 in Rocky Mountain National Park and roads below Lake Granby, in Walden Park. It's also working to clear culverts of debris brought by high water.
"The big thing is trying to keep all of your drainages clear," Haynes said.
The Office of Emergency Management is monitoring the runoff situation on a "day-by-day basis," Curran said.
"We're watching those culverts, we're watching those bridges," Curran said. "We're keeping an eye on the road."
Runoff could top 2011
Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin was over 140 percent of its normal level in April, according to a Natural Resources Conservation Service snow survey. Officials said earlier this year that they were preparing for a run-off season comparable to 2011, but Curran said that the worst case scenario could now surpass the destructive flooding Grand County saw that year.
"At this moment in time we're expecting more water this year than in 2011, and that's how we're operating right now," Curran said.
Haynes said Grand County Road and Bridge is on standby "24/7" until the end of July this year.
The Office of Emergency Management is currently monitoring information from the National Weather Service, the Colorado Northern Water Conservancy District and Denver Water to stay on top of the latest developments in runoff and water levels, Curran said.
Haynes encouraged residents to be cautious when approaching water that's crossing the roadway and to report any flooding to Grand County dispatch or his office.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.