High water recedes

Flood advisory lifted in N. Routt


— Floodwaters are receding and a flood advisory has expired in North Routt County.

"Right now, everything is great," Routt County Emergency Management Director Chuck Vale said. "Everything is back in its banks, doing well."

Although Cottonwood Creek's overflow approached seven homes near Clark and damaged Routt County Road 62 this week, homeowners were able to successfully divert flows, and no significant property damage was reported.

A National Weather Service flood advisory for North Routt County, in effect since Wednesday, expired at 1 p.m. Friday. Advisories are enacted when river and stream flows are elevated and ponding of water is occurring or imminent.

After clocking a historic flow record for May 8, Friday's amicable weather brought the Elk River back into a "comfort zone," Vale said.

At a U.S. Geological Survey measuring station near Milner, the Elk River measured Friday at 174 percent of its historical average for May 9. The river was flowing at 3,150 cubic feet per second Friday, shy of the 3,580 cfs May 9 record set in 1920, according to the USGS Web site.

That flow rate is a significant drop from Thursday's peak, when the river was flowing at 4,510 cfs shortly after 3 p.m., breaking the 3,250 cfs record set May 8, 1916.

A storm system expected to roll into Routt County on Friday night will bring rain and snow showers, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts could reach 30 mph today. The winds are expected to continue into Sunday, when high temperatures will soar into the low 70s.

"They're kind of concerned about how much moisture we might get tonight and tomorrow," Vale said Friday. "The storm's intensity to the west is higher than what the National Weather Service was originally expecting."

Road damage

Wet conditions have caused some storm damage on Routt County Road 25 just south of Oak Creek, where the edge of the unpaved road "caved off," Routt County Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said.

The area has been signed and coned, and the road reduced to about 1 1/2 lanes, Draper said.

"Repairs will have to wait until all the water stops flowing. Otherwise, the fixes won't stay where we put them," Draper said.

Water overflowing roads - to a minimal extent - is normal during runoff and usually not a matter of serious concern, Draper said.

"The culvert system is based on the 20-year event," Draper said. "If you based it higher, it would require a tremendous amount of material and the road would have to be way higher up in the air."

County officials have warned that driving in just two feet of standing water can be severely hazardous.


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