Officials on 24/7 River Watch
(ASPEN, CO) – Beginning at approximately noon today, water began flowing through the spillway at Ruedi Reservoir. Bureau of Reclamation officials say the reservoir is now filled to capacity and from 800 to 850 cubic feet per second (CFS) of water will be released into the Frying Pan River.
“Historically the Frying Pan River can handle the 800 to 850 CFS that is currently being released with no flooding in town,” according to Sergeant Roderick O’Connor of the Basalt Police Department.
“We do have to keep an eye on the river as it meets the Roaring Fork at the confluence,” O’Connor said.
Officials say Roaring Fork River levels are not expected to increase significantly from current levels. Expected releases from reservoirs on Independence Pass have not occurred and have been postponed until further notice.
Bureau of Reclamation and National Weather Service officials sat in on a meeting with a multi-jurisdictional flood preparedness team in Basalt this morning. The Bureau of Reclamation, which controls Ruedi Reservoir, assured local officials that even though the reservoir is full to capacity and the spillway is in use, there is still some capacity remaining in the reservoir to capture incoming snowmelt water.
“So far we’ve seen groundwater seepage but no significant flooding along the Frying Pan River or in the Town of Basalt,” said Sergeant Stu Curry of the Basalt Police Department who is heading up the flood team. “Our team and officials from the Bureau of Reclamation are watching reservoir, spillway and river flows 24/7.”
The team has been on increased alert in recent days as local rivers and streams reached the highest flows seen so far this spring runoff season.
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 the Roaring Fork and Pan and Fork Mobile Home Parks below the confluence of the Frying pan and Roaring Fork rivers. Residents of the parks were contacted by Red Cross volunteers door-to-door this week with information on how they can prepare to mitigate minor flooding and what to do in case of a flooding emergency. A flood preparedness hotline has been activated at 429-1800.
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. Sandbags are in short supply locally. Residents who wish to sandbag to safeguard their private properties can find the supplies they need at the following locations among others available on the internet:
Lowes – Glenwood Springs Glenwood Mall 970-384-3940
- Sandbags are also sold via the internet. The following are two sandbag distributors that we are aware of. There are many others by “Googling” sandbags on the Internet.
Neway Packaging www.newaypkg.com 800-956-3929
Central Bag & Burlap www.centralbag.com 303-297-9955
- Sand is available at the following local locations:
Lafarge - Carbondale 3794 County Rd. 109 970-704-4780
Western Slope Aggregates 14682 Hwy. 82 970-963-9424
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 Eagle 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