All rivers in the Roaring Fork Valley will see an increase in flows this week because of the warmer temperatures and large snowpack still in the upper elevations. In addition Pitkin County Officials have been notified by Twin Lakes Colorado Canal Company that Twin Lakes Company space in Twin Lakes Reservoir will fill on the Fourth of July. At that time Twin Lakes will stop diverting water from the Roaring Fork River and Lincoln Creek through the tunnel #1 at Grizzly Reservoir. They are currently diverting around 550 cfs. This water will be released to the Roaring Fork. They do not have an exact time yet when this will happen and will keep us informed.
According to April Long, the City of Aspen Clean River Program Manager, “The Roaring Fork River above Aspen reached 850 cfs on June 21, dipping down to 300 cfs three days later, but climbing back to well over 900 cfs this past weekend and reaching 970 cfs this morning. With no diversions through the Twin Lake system the River could reach 1400 cfs on Friday. Similar situations occurred in 2015 and 2016, resulting in peak flows of 1680 and 1160, respectively. Flow predictions are complicated because flows are dependent on diversions (non-diversions) as well as remaining snowpack, temperatures, cloud cover, and precipitation. The Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, experts in predicting flow, have issued the graph below, which shows flows on the Roaring Fork above Aspen reaching between 1300 and 1400 cfs. In 2015, the river overtopped its banks through North Star Nature Preserve. The NWS has also provided us with the following graph depicting the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center for the Roaring Fork River near Aspen.
The Bureau of Reclamation has informed us that: Today, Monday 1 July, at 8 a.m. releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River increased from 400 to 500 cubic feet per second (cfs). Releases will increase again today at 5 p.m. from 500 to 600 cfs for the Frying Pan and remain at 600 cfs until further notice. Increase are expected on Tuesday as well and the Bureau of Reclamation will notify us.
ADMINISTRATION: 530 E. MAIN, SUITE 103. ASPEN, CO. 81611 .970.920.5300 • FAX 970.920.5307 • PITKINSHERIFF.COM
515 E. BLEEKER, DEPT. J. ASPEN, CO. 81611 970.920.5331 • FAX 970.920.5339 . PITKINSHERIFF.COM
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Grand Junction has issued a flood advisory for the Crystal near Redstone. The stage is at 4.9 feet, Bankfull is 4 feet, and flood stage is 5.0.
Rick Larafo, Director of the Roaring Fork Conservancy said, “Predicting peak river flow has been quite a challenge this year. Runoff will likely peak this week and it is going to be big. This year’s snowpack has broken the top 10 on record for how long it has persisted into summer, and recent warm temperatures have resulted in swollen streams, raging rivers, and reservoirs filling quickly. Things can happen quickly in a cold, fast moving river. Use extreme caution in or around rivers and streams for the next week or two. Know your limits, be patient and allow the river levels to reach the safe zone before going out, and Always wear a life jacket on the water”.
Pitkin County Sheriff, Joe Di Salvo, urges the public to use caution around all rivers in the Roaring Fork Valley. “This will create dangerous river conditions and we want the public to be aware and use caution,” said Sheriff Joe Dişalvo. “The rivers are high, fast, and cold. The river banks can be unstable and we also need to be aware of debris and tree snags”. The Sheriff’s Office and other public safety agencies will be conducting patrols of known potentially dangerous locations such as the punch bowl and the grottos up Independence Pass. We need the public to use caution, watch your kids and pets.