FLOOD POTENTIAL IN THE UPPER COLORADO RIVER BASIN

The following are generalized discussions of the flood potential due to snowmelt in the Upper Colorado River drainage as of April 1, 1997. 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: The potential for flooding from snowmelt in western Colorado is above normal however, at this time, no specific forecast points are expected to reach flood flow conditions. A warm, dry March alleviated many flooding concerns, although flooding is still possible given the proper mix of future precipitation and temperature. As of April 1, the snowpack remained above average and volumetric streamflows are expected to be above average in most areas.

WYOMING: The snowmelt flood potential for the Wyoming portion of the basin is higher than normal at this time. The snowpack over this basin ranges from near to much above average with streamflow volumes expected to be near to much above average. Peak flows are also expected to be near to above average, with some over-bank flow possible. However, 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 the snowmelt flood potential is higher than normal. Near to much above average snowpack over most of the basin will lead to high flows on many of the streams in Eastern Utah with over-bank flows possible in some areas. Particular areas of concern could include Ashley Creek and Dry Fork draining out of the Uintas and portions of the Strawberry and Duchesne River systems. 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 higher than normal. Snowpack for locations upstream of the Four Corners area is above average. Volume forecasts for southwest Colorado streams draining into New Mexico are above to much above average. However, no forecast points are projected to exceed flood stage due solely to snowmelt during the spring and summer season of 1997.