Spring flooding damages homes, businesses

GREELEY - Some of the flooding from the swollen Poudre River may be starting to recede in spots, according to Greeley city officials. For some, though, the damage is already done.

The city's Building Inspection Division says initial damage assessments show 11 homes and 12 businesses were damaged by the flooding.

The water reached 9.16 feet, over a foot above flood stage, around midday Tuesday. The National Weather Service says that's over a foot over flood stage and just above the previous crest record for the river set in 2010.

Along with the flooding effect on homes and businesses, spring runoff is changing the traffic patterns in Greeley, creating congestion where there usually isn't any.

"The problem we're having right now is there are only two roads going into Greeley, 59th and 11th Avenue, that are north and south," Greeley Street Superintendent Jerry Pickett said. "So, we're getting a lot of traffic congestion and people trying to get home in the afternoon."

Drivers are noticing.

"Most of the roads are completely backed up, just because of everything else," Greeley resident Samantha Rowland said. "35th Avenue, down by my dad's work is closed. 25th Avenue is closed. This is closed. It kind of sucks."

Pickett said water is receding in some spots and some roads could reopen soon.

"We're hoping that within 48 hours we'll be able to open 35th Avenue, and that's one of the main thoroughfares that goes through the city and that would help the traffic congestion," he said.

Yet, all that depends on two key factors: whether any more spring runoff comes into the river and whether the area sees any more rain.

Re-routing floodwaters

A few businesses located along North 25th Avenue, including Bucklen Brothers, are taking steps to protect themselves. In an effort to make sure their shop and gear weren't ruined by the water, Bucklen Brothers used some of its equipment to route a new path for the flood water to prevent it from reaching them.

Employees at Hall-Irwin were also keeping a close eye on the flood water. Every hour it crept closer and closer to their gravel pit.

"No one has been here today. There's no way for them to get in," one of their employees said.

It's unclear how long the stretch of 25th and 35th avenues will be closed. Crews continue to monitor the situation.

Larimer County under flood advisory

Larimer County officials warned of a flood advisory Tuesday along the Poudre River, even as they hope peak runoff is already behind us.

Chuck Harrison, who lives southeast of Fort Collins in Larimer County, has been watching the river rise for weeks on his expansive property.

Harrison says the river is up 6 to 10 feet in some spots, lapping at the bridge on his property and making roads impassable.

"Right now, it's just a watching the water rise," he said. "I would suspect that it's gonna get a little bit worse before it gets better."

High waterways around state

Waterways around the state are expected to remain high for another two weeks or so as the plentiful mountain snowpack melts and fills reservoirs.

The South Platte Basin, which includes the Poudre, is listed as being nearly 300 percent of its average level as of last week.

Greeley officials said that so far, they have distributed about 7,000 sandbags to deal with spring runoff. There are still more than 2,000 available; they just hope it won't be needed.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)


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