Week of high waters followed by possible weekend snowfall in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Week of high waters followed by possible weekend snowfall in Summit County

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – Denver Water continues removing water from Dillon Reservoir through Robert’s Tunnel, relieving pressure on the Blue River below Dillon Dam. But the tunnel may be shut off soon.

“Depending on conditions in the South Platte Basin in the next couple of days, the utility may have to reduce the flows through or shut off Robert’s tunnel to avoid wasting water it cannot use and remain in compliance with the Blue River Decree,” according to a Denver Water press release.

The utility may only move water through the tunnel to meet demands of the South Platte. The Blue River below the dam on Thursday was flowing at 1,700 cubic feet per second at a gauge height of 3.5 feet.

“We work to keep flows coming out of Dillon Reservoir to 1,800 cfs or less to help prevent flooding, but there’s only so much we can do to help manage the high flows Mother Nature is throwing at us this year,” Denver Water raw water supply manager Bob Steger said in the press release.

Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield said there was minor flooding in Willowbrook Subdivision when an irrigation ditch overflowed Sunday. A berm was built to stop the flooding.

“It flooded some crawlspaces,” he said. “I don’t know if there was any damage or not.”

Part of the Blue River Trail at Bald Eagle Road has been closed because of the high flows. As of Thursday afternoon, Linfield said further areas along the river through town didn’t appear in danger of flooding.

“We’re going to remain diligent, but we think we’re OK,” he said.

Silverthorne and other local towns provide sandbags to help people protect their property.

“We’ll even deliver a pile of sand to their driveway,” Linfield said.

Experts say cold weather in the forecast this weekend could help bring down high waters, as it would reduce the rate of snow melting off mountain peaks.

Dave Barjenbruch, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, said cold air should be moving into the county by tonight.

Snow could begin accumulating on high peaks, continuing Saturday and possibly accumulating in towns by Saturday night.

“Accumulation-wise, it looks like the brunt will be more toward the northern Front Range mountains,” he said.

Weekend temperatures are predicted to range from 32 to 52 degrees.

By Monday, the cold weather will begin moving out and temperatures next week are to return to the 60s, Barjenbruch said.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.

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