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 May 1, 1998. 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: As of May 1, no forecast points are expected to exceed flood stage for areas in western Colorado. Although neither the North Fork Gunnison at Somerset nor Plateau Creek at Cameo is expected to flood, the divide between these two basins continues to have much above average snow for this time of year. Most other areas are experiencing near to slightly below average snowpack. Rain combined with high temperatures may lead to high flows, but currently the potential for flooding due to snowmelt alone is no greater than normal.
WYOMING: At this time, the snowmelt flood potential for streams draining the Northern Uintas is higher than normal with snowpack in these areas much above normal. Elsewhere in the basin the snowmelt flood potential is currently not high, with the snowpack ranging from below to near normal. At this time no forecasts points are expected to exceed flood stage.
UTAH: Currently, the snowmelt flood potential for the Utah portion of the basin is higher than normal. A delayed snowmelt has brought much of the snowpack in the mountains of Eastern Utah to much above normal for this time of year. However, even though higher than usual flows are expected during the runoff, no forecast points are expected to exceed flood stage.
NEW MEXICO: The snowmelt flood potential over the New Mexico portion of the basin has increased to near normal. Snowpack for locations upstream of the Four Corners area has increased to near average. Volume forecast for Southwest Colorado streams draining into New Mexico are below to near average. No forecast points are projected to exceed flood stage due solely to snowmelt.