Flood Potential in the Upper Colorado Basin


The following are generalized discussions of the flood potential due to snowmelt in the Upper Colorado River drainage as of April 1, 1996. Discussions are segregated by state. It is important to understand that the potential for flooding may increase dramatically if snowmelt accelerates rapidly due to above normal temperatures or if significant rain events occur.


COLORADO: At this time, the potential for flooding from snowmelt varies across the Colorado River Basin, decreasing to the south and west. The Yampa/White and the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River, including the Eagle and the northeastern areas of the Roaring Fork, have a low to moderate potential for flooding. Volume forecasts, based on snowpack, in these areas call for much above average flows. In addition, peak flows on the East River of the Gunnison Basin may reach near flood stage. In the Dolores and San Juan Basins, the flood potential from snowmelt is lower than normal.


WYOMING: The snowmelt flood potential for the Wyoming portion of the basin is moderate at this time. The snowpack over this basin is near to much above average with streamflow volumes expected to be near to above average. Peak flows are also expected to be above normal but at this time no forecast points are currently expected to exceed flood stage.


UTAH: At this time, the snowmelt flood potential over the Utah portion of the basin is high on the Green River in the vicinity of Jensen due mainly to high flows expected out of the Yampa River system. Elsewhere in this basin, high flows are possible on portions of the Strawberry and Duchesne Rivers, but the flood potential is not high at this time. The snowpack over the basin ranges from below average over the southeastern portion of the Uintas to near to above average elsewhere. The flood stage on the Green River near Jensen is expected to be exceeded during this runoff season.


NEW MEXICO: The snowmelt flood potential over the New Mexico portion of the basin at this time is low. Snowpack for locations upstream of the Four Corners area is below average. Volume forecasts for southwest Colorado streams draining into New Mexico range from below to much below average. No forecast points are projected to exceed flood stage due to snowmelt alone during the spring and summer season of 1996.


Snowmelt Peak Flow Forecasts - April, 1996
Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (http://www.cbrfc.gov)
Last Modified: Thursday, 11-Apr-1996 07:20:14 MDT