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May 23, 2011
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Garfield County makes preparations for flooding

Although Garfield County was spared from the kind of serious flooding experienced in neighboring counties during last year's spring runoff, the county remains prepared for potential flooding this spring."Stream runoff conditions could bring high water to many areas throughout Garfield County, depending on how quickly temperatures rise and the weather conditions leading up to that," Garfield County Public Works Director Betsy Suerth said in a recent memo to the county commissioners.Especially with record snow levels in the high country this spring, the flood threat over the next few weeks is significant."Currently, the peak runoff is predicted to take place in mid-June," Suerth said. "The public works staff will stay informed regarding peak flow predictions as conditions change throughout the runoff season."Any county roads that have been subject to flooding in the past will be closely monitored. Bridges are also being inspected to assess scouring potential under pilings, and crews are working to keep debris clear of culverts, she said.Four bridges in particular have been identified as "scour critical" by state and county officials, meaning they could be closed in the event of high water. They include:• County Road 108 bridge over the Crystal River.• County Road 311 bridge over the Colorado River south of Silt.• County Road 344 bridge over Divide Creek and Porter Ditch.• County Road 300 bridge over the Colorado River at Battlement Mesa."These bridges will be monitored and, if determined threatened, will be closed until the high water subsidies," Suerth said. "Detours will be provided, although some will be lengthy."An open letter sent out by the county also advises that residents, property owners and visitors should be aware of the flood threat this time of year. It explains that there are typically two types of flooding in Colorado."The first type occurs when the snow begins to melt in the high country and rivers begin to rise," the letter advises. "Flooding along rivers and streams can occur with a very rapid snow melt, or from thunderstorm rains combining with the runoff from melting snow."The second type is flash flooding, which refers to a dangerous sudden rise in water along a creek, wash, river or over a normally dry land area. In the warmer months this is usually due to heavy rainfall."Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours, and can move at surprisingly high speeds, striking with little warning," the letter warns.Any property owners experiencing rising flood waters from the spring runoff can obtain sand bags from the county at the Hunter Mesa Road and Bridge Shop, 0298 County Road 333A, Rifle, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.Several private businesses also have sand bags available for purchase, including:• Roaring Fork Valley Co-op, 0760 Highway 133, Carbondale• Lowe's, 0215 W. Meadows Drive, Glenwood Springs• Mr. T's Hardware & Building Supply, 6300 County Road 335, New Castle.jstroud@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated May 23, 2011 01:42AM Published May 23, 2011 01:41AM Copyright 2011 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.