Vail cautions residents about flooding
VAIL – This year’s bountiful snowfall has kayakers anxiously anticipating a great spring. But Vail town officials are warning residents about potential flooding once the snow starts to melt. Snowpack is at 135 percent of average on Vail Mountain, and Gregg Barrie of Vail’s Public Works Department said residents should give the town a call if they are concerned about flooding at their homes.”People should be aware that this will be a high runoff year,” he said.Floodplain maps are available on the town of Vail Web site at http://www.vailgov.com. They are not official Federal Emergency Management Agency maps, and should be used by residents as a guide for whether flood insurance is needed. FEMA maps are available for review at Vail’s public works building.As runoff begins, Vail public works crews will check water levels at about 90 places around town every day, including culverts and bridges. They’ll add nightly checks during the peak runoff season.Also, the town will provide free sand and bags for residents and businesses. They will be available at the parking lot near the interstate exit in East Vail and at the North Trail parking lot in West Vail.
In 2003, rain and runoff from heavy snow caused Bighorn Creek in East Vail to overrun its banks, washing out a culvert and opening a 22-foot sinkhole in Interstate 70. A 24-mile stretch of the interstate from Copper Mountain to Vail was closed for three days.Lots of callsKatie Ingston of the Mike Deacon agency of American Family Insurance in Avon said people are inquiring about flood insurance. Her company’s insurance can be in effect within several weeks, she said.”We’re starting to get a lot of phone calls lately,” she said.Citing a 30-day activation requirement for many other insurance providers, Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger is encouraging homeowners to contact their insurance providers right away.While public safety officials are preparing for potential flooding this spring, kayakers are getting ready for what is shaping up to be a great season.
“We’re starting to see a lot of buzz in the shop,” said Sean Glackin, owner of Alpine Quest Sports, a kayaking store in Edwards. “People are getting really excited.”Many kayakers are hoping for a gradual increase in temperatures – rather than a quick thaw – that will ensure lots of water for a long season, he said.”People are still loving the snow and loving the skiing, but they’re definitely starting to think water,” he said.Weather patterns in the spring will determine how severe flooding will be. If the spring is cold, flooding should be less severe, Barrie said.”However the spring approaches us is a big factor in this,” he said.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or firstname.lastname@example.org.