Roaring Fork River hits flood stage in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork River hits flood stage in Aspen

Staff report

The Roaring Fork River in Aspen reached flood stage Wednesday morning after a night of heavy rainfall followed by warming temperatures. Minor flooding in low lying areas is possible.

The Pitkin County Incident Management Team, comprised of local law enforcement, fire, medical and other public safety entities throughout the valley, issued a press release Wednesday that said the Roaring Fork was measured at 1,680 cubic feet per second early morning, an increase of more than 500 cfs since Tuesday night’s thunderstorm.

Temperatures are also forecast to be in the 80s through the weekend which is likely to increase snow melt at higher elevations.

The incident management team has been activated and is monitoring river flows on a daily basis. The team is also monitoring any structures located in areas that are known to be susceptible to flooding, according to the release.

Officials warn the public to stay alert to changing conditions.

“The Roaring Fork, on and around the Northstar Preserve east of Aspen, has been more than bankfull for the past couple of weeks,” said Alex Burchetta, incident commander. “Last night’s thunderstorm pushed the river to flood stage. … There are a few homes close to the river in that area that could experience minor flooding.”

Extreme caution is urged to those recreating in or near waterways.

“We are really concerned about visitors,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo. “People tend to underestimate the power of the river’s current. We do not want to see a tragedy.”

Citizens are urged to stay at least 25 feet away from high flowing rivers. Avoid flooded areas and unstable riverbanks. Do not drive through flooded areas as two feet of water is enough to float most vehicles.

Frying Pan River water flows are also being monitored closely by the Bureau of Reclamation. The release from Ruedi will increase today by approximately 100 cfs and Thursday morning by 50 cfs. After these adjustments, the flow at the Fryingpan River gage below Ruedi Reservoir will increase to approximately 440 cfs. For any concerns regarding reservoir operations at Ruedi, contact Patience Hurley at 701-221-1204.

Stay tuned to developments by listening to NOAA weather radio, local radio stations and by visiting pitkinemergency.org. Emergency alerts will be sent to the public via Pitkin Alert. Citizens who have not already signed up for this free service are encouraged to do so at http://www.pitkinalert.org.

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