Local rivers set to peak | VailDaily.com

Local rivers set to peak

NWS High Water SM 5-18
AP | Vail Daily

VAIL – Warm temperatures have rivers raging and ready to peak at higher-than-average levels in the next week or two.”You always kind of wish (the snowpack) would hold out for the tourists, but the locals are eating it up,” said Karl Borski, a guide for Lakota Guides, a rafting company based in Eagle-Vail.Lakota will probably have to stop running Dowd Chute raft tours for a few days when the Eagle River peaks, Borski said. When the river rises over 6.5 feet at the chute, it’s unsafe for commercial rafting tours. The river was at 5.5 feet Thursday, Borski said.”I suspect next week if not earlier it could potentially shut us down,” Borski said. “We’ll opt not to run it.”Mike Bauer, water conservation specialist with the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, said he expects the Eagle River and Gore Creek to peak around May 29. A warm spell or cold snap could push that day forward or backward by days or weeks.But Brian Avery, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said he expects the Eagle and the Gore to peak as early as Monday.Avery said temperatures have been 5-8 degrees above average, and precipitation has been dry, causing an early peak runoff.PredictionsBauer predicts the flow for the Eagle River at Avon will increase another 53 percent by the time it peaks. He’s predicting the river will peak at 2,357 cubic feet per second (CFS). The river was running at 1,540 CFS on Wednesday at Avon.The Gore Creek at Red Sandstone Creek is predicted to peak at 660 CFS, above the average peak of 589 CFS. On Wednesday it was running at 548 CFS.This past winter, both Vail and Beaver Creek mountains got the most snowfall at the top of the mountains in nine seasons.Heather Orow, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said temperatures will be a bit above average over the next seven days, generally in the mid-70s.Tom Kasmell, town engineer for Vail, said workers are checking potential flooding spots around town every day, and checks will begin during the night next week.”Potentially we could have some risk,” Kassmel said. “We’re not overly concerned at this point, but anything can happen with clogging of culverts and so forth.”Avery said the Eagle River could see some minor flooding in low-lying areas.Lakota Guides is now running rafting trips on the Upper, Middle and Lower Eagle River. Later, they’ll start trips on the Arkansas River and the Colorado River. But for now, the high water is giving some great rides on the Eagle.”It’s outstanding,” Borski said. “The (Dowd) Chute is incredible. It makes for an incredible ride in these 13-foot boats.”AT A GLANCEThe following are the 15-year average peak runoff dates and volumes:Eagle River at Minturn: June 2 at 589 cubic feet per second (CFS). Eagle River at Avon: May 30 at 2,114 CFS.Gore Creek at Red Sandstone Creek: June 1 at 828 CFS.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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