GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)- Clear Creek is expected to rise to above average levels this summer. It could become a dangerous situation similar to 16 years ago.
Winter’s record snowpack is one factor. Statewide levels are more than 230 percent of normal for this time of the year. Some parts of Colorado are even higher.
Firefighters specially trained in swift water rescues took a refresher course on Clear Creek on Thursday. They expect to be busier than usual this year, according to South Metro Fire Rescue Dave Becker.
“Right now it looks pretty calm, but I guarantee you in three weeks it’s going to look raging through here,” said Becker.
High water predictions are a big concern to Jeff Oxenford, who is in charge of organizing the U.S. Open Canoe National Championship Races. The event was originally scheduled on Clear Creek the second week in July. Expected high flows at that time would make the race too dangerous.
“This river would basically be a solid flush. All the rocks would be buried. This would be one fast moving jet of water,” said Oxenford.
After studying stream flow predictions provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oxenford is trying to move the race somewhere else.
This year is shaping up to be a repeat of 1995 when search and rescues along Clear Creek became commonplace.
“We’ve come up to Clear Creek a lot of time over the past 10 to 15 years and it’s not a good scene when we have to come up and pull people out,” said Becker.
The City of Golden Engineers Office confirms unusually high water is expected. All the city’s bridges are built to handle a 100 year flood. That’s five times bigger than what’s predicted this spring. Sandbagging along Clear Creek should not be necessary.