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A look ahead at Colorado's snowmelt forecast

With some snowmelt flooding happening on the Western Slope, what are the chances that the Front Range will get some flooding this spring?

GREELEY, Colo. — Snowmelt flooding on the Front Range of Colorado is not a common problem.

However, one place where it is more likely is Greeley, because that’s where all the rivers on the Front Range converge.

All the water in South Platte, Boulder Creek, the St. Vrain, the Big Thompson, and the Cache la Poudre all eventually run through Greeley.

There was some minor flooding during the runoff of 2019, but that was a huge snow season. This year, snowpack in the Front Range mountains only peaked at average.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Greg Heavener said most of the snow in the Front Range mountains is above 10,000 feet where colder temperatures lead to a slower melt.

"So looking at just purely snowmelt, not a rain-on-snow event, but just purely snowmelt, we really don’t have any concerns across the Front Range," Heavener said.

When it’s 80 degrees in Greeley, it could still be in the 40’s where Colorado's snow is located.

The runoff on the Front Range can also be somewhat controlled because it runs into our numerous reservoirs first. This year, our reservoirs have plenty of space to fill up.

"So it does help control the flood," Heavener said. "If there’s impacts that are going to be experienced by a flood its going to between where the snowmelt is happening and routing to the storage facility such as a reservoir."

Heavener said most of the flooding issues on the Front Range come from rain in the mountains and not snowmelt.

His biggest concern would be a large warm rain system to happen during the runoff season from now until the first week of June.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Snow in Colorado


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