Steamboat residents prepare for worst at Dream Island
June 6, 2011
Steamboat Springs — At 8 p.m. Monday evening, dozens of residents of the Dream Island Mobile Home Park were frantically filling sandbags hoping to fend off the rushing waters of the Yampa River for the night.
"I'm worried," Dream Island resident Jorge Torres said Monday night as he filled sandbags to put in front of his home, which is located across the street from the river. "I think we're in serious trouble."
He was not alone as more than a dozen people worked to load the back of pickup trucks, vans and even passenger cars to take sandbags to place in front of their homes.
Water already was spilling into the neighborhood from several areas where sandbags had not been placed along the river, which frustrated homeowner Frank Baird, who has lived in Dream Island for more than 60 years. Baird had placed sandbags around his home, part of which is on the ground level, and was using an electric pump to remove water from inside the wall. He also was working to get another gas pump up and running even as the water continued to rise.
"I've got $260 tied up in sandbags and I paid to rent the pump," Baird said
Dream Island Mobile Home Park manager Monica Mackey admitted early Monday that the rising waters of the Yampa River made her nervous and that she was optimistic that the residents' efforts to prepare for possible flooding in the downtown Steamboat Springs mobile home park would pay off.
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"I'm a little bit nervous," Mackey said Monday. "I just haven't seen many signs of melting up on the mountain this spring and the water is already high."
Mackey said the park management is ready to bring in pumps in case the water breaches the sand bags or if groundwater begins to become a problem inside the perimeter.
Many of the residents said the last time the park saw significant flooding was about 10 years ago, but none of them could seem to agree on the exact year. At that time, water entered near the front of the park and flowed down the streets. Mackey said that the sandbags weren't stacked high enough that year, which she thought was 1997, and caused some of the flooding problems.
Resident Richard Imperato had lined sandbags behind his home, but the water still had managed to reach the edge of his deck earlier Monday. He said the snow he still sees at the top of Mount Werner has him wondering what the spring run-off is going to bring and when the river will retreat. He has lived in Steamboat Springs for more than 30 years and in Dream Island the past four.
"I still have about a foot to go," Imperato said. "But I think that things might get a little wet before this is done."