Melting snow floods parts of campground
April 8, 2016
Steamboat Springs — What started as a trickle quickly turned into a steady stream of water Thursday night at Steamboat Campground.
“It happened in the span of 15 to 20 minutes,” said Heather Wachter, an employee who was at the campground when the flooding occurred.
The Yampa River runs through the campground. While warm weather Thursday did cause the flow of the river to spike overnight, that was not the cause of the flood, which brought knee-deep water to some places. No significant damage was reported, though some residents had to relocate and scramble to grab items that were floating away.
Wachter said the water came from the direction of the Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park next door. A drainage ditch runs between the properties that, presumably, became clogged or overwhelmed Thursday night.
“First, it was just a little bit of a trickle, but then, it started gushing,” Wachter said.
Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble said this is the time of year property owners should check their ditches and culverts to ensure they are working properly.
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While a fair amount of snow has yet to melt in the valley, it is too early to tell whether snow depths at upper elevations have peaked for the season.
Typically, around the end of May or beginning of June is when high rivers present the potential for flooding.
Some flooding is normal, such as on parts of the Yampa River Core Trail and beside the Steamboat Hotel. Residents of Dream Island Mobile Home Park routinely stack sandbags along the river. In rural areas along the Elk River, it is not unusual for fields to flood.
Struble said with snowpack near normal at upper elevations, the possibility of flooding will depend on future rainfall and if there are periods of warm weather.