Silverthorne ‘dodges bullet’ on flooding
summit daily news
Vail, CO Colorado
SILVERTHORNE – Residents and businesses along the Blue River in Silverthorne can let down their guard a bit, as far as flooding is concerned.
Cold weather over the weekend slowed snowmelt, decreasing Dillon Reservoir outflows into the Blue River to about 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) Monday. The river peaked at about 1,800 cfs early last week.
“I think we’ve dodged the bullet for this year,” said Town of Silverthorne Public Works director Bill Linfield. “Of course, we still keep our fingers crossed.”
Denver Water, which operates the reservoir, tries to keep outflows less than 1,800 cfs to prevent flooding. But the agency is legally obligated to leave water in the Blue when it has no need for it on the Front Range.
Dillon Reservoir filled and began spilling water through the morning glory spillway on May 24. Denver Water started diverting water to the Front Range through the Roberts Tunnel on June 6 – earlier than normal, owing to a June 4 river call on the South Platte River. The move enabled the agency to avert flood-stage flows into the Lower Blue River.
Denver Water shut off the Roberts Tunnel on Friday afternoon, when the South Platte call ended. But by that time, Dillon Reservoir inflows had slowed.
“I think we’re pretty much in the safe zone. Even if we have hot temperatures later in the week, we’ve lost enough of the snowpack now. We think the worst is over,” Linfield said.
Even so, localized flooding could still occur due to precipitation, beaver activity or other factors, Linfield said.
A portion of the Blue River Trail at Bald Eagle Road is still closed. The trail is designed to go under water at flows higher than 1,000 cfs, and an alternate route exists for trail users.