Flood Concern Growing With Snowmelt, Potential Weekend Rain
DENVER (CBS4) – As we move into the long holiday weekend, attention turns from widespread severe weather to the potential for flash flooding.
Concern remains highest along rivers and streams in northern and central Colorado, where there’s still a lot of mountain snow to melt.
SO FAR WE’VE DODGED A BULLET
The relatively cool, unsettled weather pattern this spring has been a mixed blessing, allowing snowpack to melt at a slow and steady pace.
But there are more wildcards in the forecast now than ever before, because so much snow remains. It could cause things to change quickly in the days ahead.
- overnight temperatures in the high country are staying above freezing both day and night up to treeline
- rain is in the forecast this weekend, and it could be locally heavy at times
- June is around the corner, and our chances for a rapid warm up grow higher with each passing day
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND OUTLOOK
One of the biggest concerns this Memorial Day weekend is the same weather pattern that has been with us since Tuesday.
A large area of low pressure over the desert southwest will continue to pump plenty of moisture into the state along with a series of weather disturbances.
While most of the rain and storms has been along and east of I-25 this week, over the weekend, more of that moisture will make it into the higher terrain.
Winds aloft are weak, so any thunderstorms that do develop could be slow movers and have the potential to drop heavy rain.
This is not good news for areas with deep snowpack because heavy rain could rapidly accelerate the snow melt.
PAY ATTENTION TO RISING WATERS THIS WEEKEND
If you have plans to be near rivers, creeks and streams in the mountains for this long holiday weekend, there is no need to change your plans due to the flood threat.
But do remain vigilant of the conditions around you, especially if thunderstorms move into your area and persist for any length of time.
Even without any rainfall, waters are rising a little each day on their own due to the snowmelt process. They’re also flowing faster, especially in elevations between 6,000 and 10,000 feet.
Add a slow moving thunderstorm into the picture with heavy rain, and things could change fast.
Waters levels are currently highest the closer you get to the Continental Divide.
At last check, the Fraser River near Winter Park was just about at flood stage, and some smaller creeks in Grand County have already reached flood stage.
UNPLUG, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
The main message of this story is it’s Memorial Day Weekend and you work hard; go to the high country and have fun! Unplug from the world and get some much deserved rest and relaxation.
But don’t unplug too much! Make it part of your daily routine to check the latest weather a few times each day, and pay attention to your surroundings.
If storms develop and drop heavy rain, a flash flood could develop with little to no advanced notice.
In the event of a flash flood or a sudden rise in water levels near you, move to higher ground, and if necessary, climb to safety.