Water swamps roads in Redstone, on Independence Pass
June 7, 2010
ASPEN – High temperatures and rapid snow melt caused the Crystal River to flow over parts of Redstone Boulevard in the town of Redstone Sunday evening, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and National Weather Service.
The Pitkin County emergency dispatch center reported water over part of the road at about 7:30 p.m. Billy Amicon, owner of the Crystal Club restaurant and bar in Redstone, said the water was flowing over Redstone Boulevard north of the residential area. It was about an inch deep on a 60-foot stretch around 8 p.m., he said. But Carbondale Fire Department personnel reported that water was 6 to 8 inches deep at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The fire department was contemplating closing the road.
It’s not uncommon for water from the Crystal River to flow over the north entrance of the town at this time of year, Amicon said.
Water was also over Highway 82 at mile marker 71, on the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass on Sunday evening, according to the dispatch center. The road was closed for a short time starting at about 7:30 p.m., but one lane was open by about 9 p.m.
The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the Crystal River above Redstone on Sunday. “Flows on the Crystal River are expected to remain high through Tuesday as warmer-than-normal temperatures result in rapid snow melt,” the weather service statement said.
Flood stage on that stretch of river is 5 feet, the advisory said. The river was at 4.3 feet on Sunday evening and was supposed to rise to about 4.9 feet after midnight this morning.
The Crystal near Redstone was flowing at 1,680 cubic feet per second (cfs) Sunday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That was well below the high for the date of 2,550 cfs recorded in 1958, according to the USGS.
The Roaring Fork River was also flowing at a high level Sunday. It was at 3,210 cfs at Emma, a high over the past 12 years, according to the geological survey. The previous high for the date was 2,530 in 2008.
The Pitkin County emergency dispatch center issued an alert to rafters and kayakers Sunday that a large tree was down in the Roaring Fork River just upstream from Slaughterhouse Falls, making that stretch unnavigable. “Raft companies will clear the tree when the water level has dropped and [it is] safe to do so,” the alert said.