(ASPEN, CO) – Releases from local reservoirs that are full or nearly full to capacity will increase the amount of water in runoff swollen rivers in the coming days. Weather permitting, local officials do not expect major flooding but are taking action to get the word out to residents in low-lying areas to be prepared in case flooding occurs. Areas of particular concern are Lazy Glen Trailer Park below the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and Snowmass Creek, the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park and the Pan and Fork Trailer Park below the confluence of the Frying pan and Roaring Fork rivers and residences and businesses along the Roaring Fork and Frying pan River Valleys.
“We’re watching the reservoir releases very closely,” said Roderick O’Connor of the Basalt Police Department who is heading up the multi-jurisdictional flood preparedness team. “We have officers from Aspen to Carbondale keeping an eye on water levels in creeks and rivers day and night and so far we’ve only seen minor flooding in low lying areas,” O’Conner said.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross with the help of local police and sheriff’s deputies have circulated flyers in English and Spanish door-to-door at Lazy Glen, Roaring Fork and Pan and Fork trailer parks. The flyers offer basic flood preparedness and safety information. An Emergency Preparedness Telephone Hotline has also been activated at 429-1800.
“While we are not anticipating any major flooding this runoff season, that could change with a microburst-type thunderstorm that raises water levels suddenly,” O’Connor said.
In the event of flooding emergencies, the priority of rescue personnel will be to respond to health and life safety issues. Residents in low-lying areas that are able are expected to prepare themselves and their property for the advent of flooding. Residents who wish to sandbag to safeguard their private properties can find the supplies they need locally at the Roaring Fork Valley Co op, 0760 Hwy. 133 Carbondale. 963-2220. www.roaringforkcoop.com. Filled and unfilled bags are available. No sand. Sand is available at Lafarge Gravel at 3794 County Road 109. 704-4780. Harbert Lumber in Aspen located at 38005 Hwy. 82 will have filled sandbags available by 6/9/10. 925-4262.
If the threat of major flooding occurs, residents in low-lying areas should self-rescue by moving to higher ground. If necessary, residents will also be alerted by reverse 911 and via the Pitkin Alert System. Residents are encouraged to opt-in to the Pitkin Alert System at www.pitkinalert.com.
The National Weather Service calls for above normal temperatures through Friday with little precipitation, followed by a cooling trend this weekend. The cooling trend is expected to significantly slow the snowmelt runoff.
The multi-agency flood preparedness team includes officials from the towns of Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, Carbondale and Pitkin and Garfield counties. The goal of the combined flood management effort is to help citizens help themselves.
What you can do for yourself
v Listen to local radio, tune in to local television, read local newspapers for emergency advisories, updates and instructions.
v Call the local Spring Run off hotline: 429-1800 for information.
v Know what the weather is doing. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio or your local media for vital weather information.
v If flooding occurs, get to higher ground.
v If you have natural gas or propane appliances, try to turn off the electric power to the house at the outside electrical panel.
v Stay away from ground level transformers that are inundated by flood waters.
v Keep children and pets away from fast moving or high water.
v Do not camp or park you vehicle along streams and washes.
v If kayaking or rafting during runoff, watch for logs and floating debris.
v Prepare family 72 hr survival kits with essential food, water and supplies for at least three days. The kit should be kept in a designated place and be ready to “grab and go” in case you must leave your house quickly.
v Purchase sandbags and sand at most local hardware stores.
v If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it – it may contain hazardous materials.
v Never drive through flooded roadways. If you car stalls, abandon it immediately. Attempting to move a stalled vehicle could be fatal.
v Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.
v Kayakers and rafters should report overturned “runaway” boats to authorities to let them know whether or not a rescue is needed.
v Report flood related emergencies by calling 911.
ColoradoDivision of Emergency Management
National Weather Service
U.S. Department of Geological Services – Waterwatch