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Golden Officials Keep Eye On Creek After Ice Dam Break Causes A Scare

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GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents in a Golden neighborhood along Clear Creek are relieved that a surge of water that came down the creek after the burst of an ice dam didn’t cause any significant problems.

Clear Creek (credit: CBS)

Clear Creek on Wednesday morning (credit: CBS)

Officials sent some flood warnings out and ordered an evacuation at the Clear Creek RV Park at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday after the ice dam broke.

“It was a little unnerving. They said that there was a five foot wall of water coming down from Idaho Springs, so we didn’t really know what to expect,” said Chris Vidrine, who was among those who had to evacuate.

By 10:30 p.m. those evacuations were lifted after it was determined that there was no major flooding, only some minor issues. One bike trail next to the creek iced over when water flooded onto it and was closed on Wednesday morning.

“If we get another deep freeze and a thaw within December or January I don’t know why it wouldn’t happen again,” said hydrologist Kevin Stewart.

Stewart said ice flows pushing down Clear Creek can result in flash flood conditions.

“It looked like a small dam release, like what we experienced in September where large debris built up in the channels released and caused large walls of water,” said Stewart.

Also, officials said drivers should be careful around the creek as some roads might be particularly icy.

“I came out here and saw the creek was completely frozen. I was hanging out here and then all of a sudden the water started creeping over the top of it,” resident Brian Gorman said. “Clear Creek melted in, I’d say, five minutes. It was impressive.”

Officials will be keeping close watch on Clear Creek over the next few days as temperatures on the Front Range fluctuate.

City of Golden spokeswoman Karlyn Tilley said that this much ice hasn’t formed in Clear Creek in more than a century.

“We really don’t know what to expect because we haven’t seen this kind of thing before,” said Tilley.

The town warns that this week’s mandatory evacuations may be the first of many.

“We have informed people that live in those areas that this could happen again and they need to be aware of their surroundings,” said Tilley.

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