Spring melt still filling Eagle County streams
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The Eagle River officially hit flood stage Tuesday – in Dotsero. But the fast-running river is being watched along its length to see if, or where, it will break out of its banks.The U.S. Geological Survey’s online stream tracker showed the Eagle River at Dotsero had passed its flood stage by about 3 inches Tuesday. Elsewhere, water was spreading across the Eaton property across the river from the Eagle River Preserve, which usually is at least partly flooded in the spring. Firefighters from the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District helped put sandbags around Mike Crabtree’s home hard against the river’s banks just east of the roundabout at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Eby Creek Road.In Minturn, some sandbags are already starting to wear away.”The power of the water is just incredible,” Eagle County Public Works Director Tom Johnson said. The fast-moving water has officials on alert from East Vail west to Dotsero, checking bridges and low-lying areas. Much of that work is done past sundown until the day’s water peaks in the middle of night.Still, much of the county is on alert. Eagle County Tuesday issued a press release – soon repeated by town goverments – warning people to “exercise caution” around local streams. People were warned especially to be careful around stream banks, which could erode with the rapid streamflow.The Colorado Department of Transportation Tuesday issued a statement that parts of the bike path in Glenwood Canyon could be seriously damaged because of high water this year, and people reported that water in the Colorado River, both in the canyon and upstream from Dotsero, was pushing close to the railroad tracks. The National Weather Service Tuesday issued a flood warning for the Dotsero area, and a slightly less urgent flood advisory for much of the rest of the county.Warm weather the past few days has accelerated this season’s snowmelt, but temperatures are expected to cool somewhat the rest of the week. While valley temperatures hit the 80s Monday, Tuesday’s temperatures leveled off in the 70s, and Johnson said high-elevation low temperatures were forecast to go back below freezing for the next few nights.”We’re expecting the melt to slow, but we may not have peaked yet,” Johnson said.
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