Yampa River flow drops by half

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The Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs drop--ped steeply Sunday at precisely the same time a major tributary, Fish Creek, was doing the same.

The Yampa was flowing at 260 cubic feet per second at the Fifth Street Bridge in Steamboat on Monday morning, less than half of its levels a week earlier.

The sharp drop came overnight Sunday, when the Yampa lost 70 cubic feet of streamflow in a few hours. Until Saturday night, the Yampa had been falling steadily since July 4, but still was tracking 150 cfs above historic norms. By Monday morning, the river was flowing 20 cfs below the median level for the date.

As recently as June 29, the Yampa still was carrying significant melting snow and flowing at 1,200 cfs.

When the Yampa dropped Sunday night, Fish Creek, which enters the Yampa upstream from Fifth Street, also dropped 50 cfs from about 110 cfs to 60 cfs.

Fish Creek, carrying storage from the reservoir of the same name on the Continental Divide, is the primary source of municipal water in the city. Fish Creek Reservoir remains full, according to Mount Werner Water and Sanitation's Web page. The water is taken out at Mount Werner Water's filtration plant, about two miles upstream from the confluence.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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