Rain means green scenery in Vail | VailDaily.com

Rain means green scenery in Vail

Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily file photoOne Vail Valley says the high-water season has been usually prolonged

VAIL, Colorado – The plentiful rain in Vail, Colorado hasn’t just helped keep the rivers high for local raft companies. It’s also made for some great scenery.

“With all the rain that we’ve gotten, all the scenic trips are even more scenic than usual, green and lush,” said Lisa Reeder of Timberline Tours, which runs trips on the Eagle, Colorado and Arkansas rivers.

Consistent snow-melt runoff and steady rain have kept rivers high so far this year, making for a great season for local rafters and kayakers.

Local kayaker Ken Hoeve said the high-water season has been usually prolonged.

“All the elements came together,” Hoeve said. “All the stars aligned, and we got a super-magical season.”

Rain during the month of June has been well above normal, though not record-breaking. Two inches of rain fell on Vail Mountain from June 1 through June 24, according to the National Resources Conservation Service. Rainfall data for the last six days of June is not yet available. The average for the entire month is 1.6 inches.

But the rain isn’t good for everyone. At the Vail Golf Course, golfers have tried to dodge the storms, but many have simply played through the rain, said Alice Plain, director of golf.

“Actually, it hasn’t been that bad,” Plain said, adding that the course has only seen 200 fewer rounds – with about 5,000 played – compared to last year.

An unusual weather pattern has created cool and wet weather over the region since May, said Jim Daniels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Even though there’s rain in the forecast for this weekend, warmer and drier weather should return by next week, Daniels said.

“I think over the last week or so we’ve kind of seen a transition to a pattern more typical of this time of year,” he said.

Rain has continued this week, with authorities issuing a flash flood warning Friday afternoon following a brief rainstorm.

The wet spring is a good sign for local water authorities. Eagle River Water and Sanitation District spokeswoman Diane Johnson said the water supply looks good.

“If we suddenly get really hot and really dry, i.e. no precipitation, and the river really drops, then we become concerned,” she said.

A watering schedule remains in effect, with odd-numbered addresses allowed to water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and even-numbered addresses allowed to water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Statistics from the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District show that local rivers have been staying far above normal levels. The Eagle River near Minturn peaked in late May at about 825 cubic feet per second. After volumes dropped below 500 cubic feet per second in mid-June, they surged again last week, reaching 725 cubic feet per second.

While thousands of people have enjoyed kayaking, rafting and fishing Eagle County rivers this year, there have been a few local tragedies on the rivers.

A kayaker died June 4 while kayaking the Black Gore Creek above East Vail. On June 29, a toddler was swept away by the rushing Gore Creek and was found dead a short time later. The body of an Aurora man who fell off his raft during a fishing trip on the Colorado River June 20 was found Wednesday near Rancho del Rio.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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