Vail will have sand and bags available May 22 for residents, merchants
VAIL — Beginning Monday, May 22, the town of Vail will establish two distribution points for free sand material and empty bags for residents and merchants who wish to safeguard their property from the possibility of high water. Sand and bags will be available at the parking lot near the Interstate 70 interchange in East Vail and at the North Trail parking lot in West Vail. Residents should bring a shovel and be prepared to fill their own bags while supplies last. Contractors are asked to make their own arrangements for sandbags for commercial construction projects.
Spring run-off typically peaks between late May and mid-June, when streams reach their highest flow and height. As of May 1, the Vail Mountain SNOTEL station was at 68 percent of normal snow water equivalent (a measure of water content in the existing snowpack). As of May 15, it was at 15 percent of normal. Gore Creek flows have been above average within the last week due to warmer temperatures; however, they are expected to drop down back to average flows as cooler weather is in the forecast.
Snowpack levels alone do not provide a good indication as to whether or not flooding will occur as it did in 2010, according to Tom Kassmel, the town’s floodplain administrator. Kassmel says the main contributing factor to a large scale run-off flood event is snowmelt rate. A cold, snowy spring with a quick warm-up in late May and early June, sets the stage for high flows. For daily updates on stream flow data, visit the U.S. Geological Survey website, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/current/?type=flow&group_key=huc_cd.
Floodplain maps are available online. Copies of these maps are available for review at the town of Vail Public Works Department, 1309 Elkhorn Drive or may be ordered by calling 1-877-336-2627 or available at msc.fema.gov.
Area streams most prone to flooding in Vail include: Black Gore Creek near The Heather and Gore Creek at the intersection of Bridge Road and Lupine Drive in East Vail; Mill Creek near Mill Creek Circle in Vail Village; and Red Sandstone Creek near the Brooktree Condominiums and Buffehr Creek from Circle Drive to the North Frontage Road in West Vail.
Information on flood preparedness efforts and sandbag availability throughout the county can be found at http://www.eaglecounty.us.
To volunteer for possible emergency sandbagging operations call the Vail Police Department, 970-479-2200, and register with the Community Emergency Response Team. Residents are asked to avoid getting near flooded areas or fast moving water without appropriate safety gear and training.
To receive free emergency alerts on flooding and other hazards via email and/or text message, subscribe to the countywide emergency alert system at http://www.ecalert.org.