On the River: Another peak?
Aspen, CO Colorado
Cool weather sent water flows plummeting on the Roaring Fork River in the last few days, but river runners take heart ” experts say another peak is due in early June.
The Roaring Fork’s flow hit the highest of the spring so far on Sunday, May 20. The flow at Glenwood Springs topped at about 3,700 cubic feet per second, according to a hydrograph on the website of the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.
The flow hovered around that level for a couple of days until temperatures plunged on May 22. That reduced the flow by about half, to 1,760 cfs on Friday.
Brian Avery, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the Roaring Fork experienced a primary peak May 20.
However, a secondary peak that will be “equal or perhaps more” is still to come, he said.
The river forecast center’s most recent report forecast a peak this year of about 4,100 cfs. The average peak for the Roaring Fork is 6,100, and it usually comes between June 3 and 18.
The river peaked at Glenwood Springs at 5,640 cfs on May 23 last year, the report showed.
Avery said temperatures will remain relatively cool throughout the weekend, then start warming Memorial Day. The snowpack is only 50 percent of average, but there is still a fair amount remaining at high elevations, he noted. The runoff will probably boost the flow to a new high level for this spring during the first or second week of June, he said.
Temperatures are supposed to be above normal for western Colorado during the first half of June and warm overall throughout the summer, Avery said.
He warned river runners to be prepared for cold temperatures. The water temperature has been between 42 and 49 degrees, so hypothermia is possible for people in the water for any length of time, he said.
River conditions throughout western Colorado and Utah can be checked at the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center’s website, http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov; click on an icon for a specific site.
Meanwhile, conditions remain calm on the Fryingpan River. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported Friday it is releasing 110 cfs from Ruedi Reservoir’s dam. Creeks boost the flow on the Pan to 130 cfs.
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