Steamboat Springs High waters continued to flow from rivers, creeks and streams in and around Steamboat Springs on Sunday as the record snowpack continues to melt, and a flood warning remains in effect for much of Routt County until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Routt County Office of Emergency Management Director Bob Struble reiterated Sunday that he thinks the area will see an extended snowmelt period as opposed to severe flooding. Forecasters predicted possible flooding last week as temperatures reached the mid- to upper 70s.
“I think we’re going to be in good shape unless it gets hot for an extended period of time,” Struble said.
Water that crested the banks of the Elk River west of Steamboat on Friday and forced one family to evacuate its home continued to flow over Routt County Road 44 on Sunday. Struble said the river peaked at 7.7 feet Sunday and didn’t threaten any more homes in the area. It was recorded at nearly 7.9 feet Friday.
Struble said the Office of Emergency Management hasn’t evacuated any residents. He said any residents who left their homes did so on their own.
The Elk also flowed over its banks Friday in North Routt. On Sunday, North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bob Reilley said no families evacuated their homes because of the high water. He said several property owners, who typically deal with high water, have prepared by protecting their homes with sandbags.
“Right now, it seems like it’s pretty normal high water,” Reilley said. “The areas we see wash out under high water, do. It’s more of the same today.”
Struble said the Elk is in good shape. But that could change.
According to the most recent outlook from the National Weather Service, which was released Saturday afternoon, “unseasonably warm temperatures will continue to accelerate the melting of the snowpack.”
“In some locations … the water level rise will be quite dramatic,” it said.
The National Weather Service forecast the Elk to reach 9.1 feet at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The Yampa peaked Sunday at 6.5 feet at 2 a.m. at the Fifth Street Bridge. It was flowing at 6.4 feet at 9 a.m. Sunday. The Weather Service predicted that the Yampa would reach 7.6 feet, surpassing the 7.5-foot flood stage, at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The river is then expected to slowly recede throughout the week, peaking at 7 feet at 6 a.m. Friday. A similar decrease is expected for the Elk River near Milner, with it peaking at 8.2 feet Wednesday morning, 7.9 feet Thursday morning and 7.5 feet Friday morning. The Elk’s flood stage at that measuring station is 7.5 feet.
Monday’s high temperature is forecast to hit 81 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. There’s a 20 percent of thunderstorms. The thermometer will hover in the mid-70s Tuesday through Thursday.
Elk River runs over County Road 44 on June 5, 2011
Steamboat Springs 100-year floodplain
What the Yampa River's rising levels mean
Here is what the Weather Service says happens when the water reaches certain levels (in feet) at Fifth Street.
5: Portions of the Yampa River Core Trail, especially in Yampa River Park and Emerald Park, are flooded.
6: Portions of the baseball and soccer fields in Emerald Field are flooded.
6.2: Out-of-bank flow begins in Dream Island Mobile Home Park on U.S. Highway 40 on the west end of Steamboat Springs.
6.5: The Yampa River has reached bankfull in several places, and some flooding of undeveloped land is occurring.
7: Some minor flooding of low-lying agricultural land along the Yampa River upstream and downstream of Steamboat is occurring.
7.5: Minor flooding is occurring along the Yampa River in Steamboat. Water is flowing across some properties adjacent to the river and is approaching buildings.
8.1: Water reaches the foundations of buildings near Yampa and Ninth streets, including Backdoor Sports.
8.4: Water is approaching buildings along Yampa Street between Fifth Street and Seventh Street, including The Boathouse Pub.
8.69: Portions of Yampa Street are beginning to flood. The intersection at Yampa and Ninth streets is flooded.
9.8: Water reaches the bottom of the Fifth Street Bridge over the Yampa River.
10: Water reaches the railroad crossing near the intersection of Fifth Street and Howelsen Parkway.
10.5: The intersection of Howelsen Parkway and Fifth Street near Howelsen Park is flooding.
12.5: Water is flowing over the Fifth Street Bridge and other bridges along the Yampa River in Steamboat, including at 13th Street.
13.5: Many portions of Yampa Street are flooded and impassable. Buildings adjacent to the river are flooded. Water has reached some buildings between Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue.
19.5: The intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Ninth Street is beginning to flood.
25.5: Water is near the intersection of Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue. Major flooding and flood damage is occurring.
The Steamboat Today will continue to update the runoff situation across Routt County. If you're aware of flooding issues anywhere in the county, call us at 970-871-4234 or email share@SteamboatToday.com.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com