Communities keep eye on rivers ahead of warmer temps

LONGMONT- Sunny skies, climbing temperatures and mountain snow: it's a combination that could signal a coming thaw this weekend. For those who live near the rivers fed by spring runoff, it is now a time to be vigilant, according to meteorologist and Lyons resident Greg Berman.

"I do want people to be on that heightened alert, just in case we do have something serious coming our way," he said.

After this past weekend's winter weather, the snowpack in Colorado is high. The National Weather Service said it is at 136 percent of normal for the Upper Colorado Headwaters, 143 percent for the North Platte and Laramie Basin and 145 percent for the South Platte.

One of the tributaries of the South Platte River is the St. Vrain River, which runs right through Longmont. It is an area that is scarred when it comes to high water and officials are already taking precautions.

WATCH: Communities keep eye on rivers ahead of warmer temps

"Our staff is periodically moving into a daily regimen where they are traveling up and down the river, looking at any signs of high water coming up, debris catching up on bridges and those kinds of things," Longmont's Director of Public Works and Natural Resources Dale Rademacher said.

Longmont's lessons from the flooding in September will be applied for potential spring runoff problems now. That includes cameras now monitoring gauge stations along the river and an executive order barring both people and boats from the river because of debris hazards.

"The order is, stay out of the creek until further notice and certainly, until we get through runoff," Rademacher said.

Those who live near that runoff said they also want to get through it unscathed.

"There are still a lot of major issues going on in our town and like I said, we lived and breathed this whole thing," Berman said.

One of the other unknown factors in all this is the topography itself. It has changed since last year's flooding, and that could also mean changes this year's spring runoff, including what areas may see the most impact, something that may not be clear until it happens.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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