High streamflows flood roads, recpaths in Summit County
Ryan Summerlin June 12, 2013
Drivers and recpath users may experience water delays over the coming days and weeks, as warmer temperatures accelerate snow-melt runoff and increase streamflows around the county.
Straight Creek Drive east of Canyon Trail is expected to be closed again today as crews work to divert stream water that began flooding the road Saturday night.
“We’re trying to create an earthen berm to channel the water across the street,” Summit County emergency manager Joel Cochran said Sunday. “Basically the roads are closing when the water gets high and then opening when the water goes down.”
Runoff increases during the day, but the streamflows tend to recede in the afternoons and at night. The sporadic road closures on Straight Creek Drive are expected to continue through at least the early part of the week.
We’re trying to create an earthen berm to channel the water across the street
Bikers also encountered water this weekend on the recpath near Copper Mountain, where a group of ponds are beginning to overflow. A similar problem seems to be arising in Breckenridge behind the Breckenridge Recreation Center, where the Blue River spilled over onto the sidewalk, flooding a nearby picnic area.
Raging rivers and overflowing streams are a typical spring and early-summer sight in Summit County, when temperatures warm enough to begin dissolving the high-alpine snowpack finally arrive. Some forecasts are calling for high temperatures to approach 80 degrees today, and flooding is expected to continue for the next few days or weeks.
The National Weather Service in Boulder issued a small stream flood warning effective through the day today at the request of local officials.
“Kids and pets and people should be careful because that water is moving pretty quickly,” Cochran said.
As of Sunday evening, there had been no public announcements of recpath closures.