STERLING, Colo. (CBS4) – Communities on Colorado’s Eastern Plains are keeping a close eye on the South Platte River as rainwater continues to flow downstream.
During the flooding in September 2013, parts of Sterling were badly damaged. Though there’s been mitigation work along the river, so much rain has fallen in the northeast corner of the state that the river isn’t the only concern.
“I was ready to move last night, I told my son I said I’m moving,” said Diane Sprague of Brush.
It’s not spring run-off that’s causing problems for Sprague — her house has seen about five inches of rain over the weekend.
“I had probably an inch of water standing on this carpet, other rooms had two to three inches, there was water up to the steps,” she said of her home.
Sprague even had water pouring down her basement walls.
“I’ve been in this house 16 years and I’ve never seen a lake from my house clear up a half mile to the next house,” she said.
That water began heading downstream on Sunday, toward Sterling, where water levels are expected to reach 13.3 feet.
“The crest during 2013 was 13.7, that was the historic crest there. Right now we’re monitoring all the waters, we have pre-evacuation notices in place for residents between Highway 6 and Interstate 76,” said Cody Adams, Logan County Emergency Manager.
The biggest problem lies between Atwood and Sterling where several full tributaries are flowing into the South Platte River.
Crews on Sunday worked to get debris out of a creek.
“There’s been a lot of mitigation projects that have taken place between now and then to ease that flow. So we might see the same height in the water but not as much flooding due to those projects,” said Adams.
The flow is expected to peak some time between Monday and Wednesday. The few inches of snow that fell after the rain on Sunday took longer to seep into the ground than rain, helping the flood conditions.
Other waterways are also a concern on the Eastern Plains. Heavy weekend rainfall from Elbert County and eastern Adams and Arapahoe counties has been flowing into Bijou Creek and has flooded fields and cut off many county roads.
La Junta east of Pueblo is also potentially facing a record flood along the Arkansas River.