Near-normal runoff expected in some headwaters streams
The Colorado River Basin snowpack zoomed upward in April.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Spring storms that repeatedly targeted the north-central mountains of Colorado in April help bring the snowpack to near normal in a few river basins. The May 1 snow survey showed the statewide snowpack climbing up to 83 percent of average for the date, the highest level of the year.
“Those wet storms really improved our water supplies, especially along the Front Range and Upper Colorado River basin”, said Phyllis Ann Phillips, state conservationist with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. Some headwaters of the Colorado and South Platte River basins may see runoff near to slightly above average, the NRCS said in the monthly snowpack update. (more…)
Breckenridge, Colorado recently recorded an all-time 24-hour record rainfall event during a summer thunderstorm. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Large parts of the northern hemisphere could see a 20 to 30 percent increase in extreme precipitation events by the end of the century. Extra moisture due to a warmer atmosphere dominates all other factors, leading to notable increases in the most intense precipitation rates, according to a new NOAA-led study.
The study shows a 20-30 percent expected increase in the maximum precipitation possible over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases continue to rise at a high emissions rate.
Arctic sea ice dwindled to a new record low in Sept. 2012, with potentially serious consequences for weather in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere.
Shifting wind patterns may drive more intense and persistent heat waves, blizzards, drought and flooding
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — More studies are showing that the massive loss of Arctic sea ice is going to have significant effects on mid-latitude weather. With more solar energy going into the Arctic Ocean because of lost ice, there is reason to expect more extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall, heat waves, and flooding in North America and Europe, according to a new report.
“What we’re seeing is stark evidence that the gradual temperature increase is not the important story related to climate change,” said Rutgers researcher Jennifer Francis. “It’s the rapid regional changes and increased frequency of extreme weather that global warming is causing. As the Arctic warms at twice the global rate, we expect an increased probability of extreme weather events across the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere, where billions of people live,” she said.
The NOAA study, led by James Overland, Ph.D., of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., shows that normal west-to-east flowing upper-level winds have been replaced by a more north-south undulating, or wave-like pattern. This new wind pattern transports warmer air into the Arctic and pushes Arctic air farther south, and may influence the likelihood of persistent weather conditions in the mid-latitudes. (more…)
Storm could bring dangerous surge, flash flooding in the hills
Hurricane Paul, still with a distinct eye, is visible just off the tip of the Baja Peninsula in this NOAA satellite image from Monday afternoon.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Hurricane watches have been hoisted along the southwest coast of Baja, where a rare land-falling storm could bring a dangerous storm surge and the chance flash flooding in coastal hills.
Hurricane Paul is barreling toward the Baja coast with sustained winds still topping 100 mph, although the National Hurricane Center says the storm could weaken significantly before hitting the coast sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday. (more…)
A 2004 NASA satellite image shows a volcano erupting on Vanuatu, in the South Pacific.
Island nations can expect to see more drought and flooding
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Already under the gun from rising sea levels, some South Pacific island nations could also be swamped by more extreme floods and hit by drought as global temperatures rise in response to more heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The international study, led by CSIRO oceanographer Dr. Wenju Cai, examines how the South Pacific rain band will respond to greenhouse warming.
The South Pacific rain band is largest and most persistent of the Southern Hemisphere, spanning the Pacific from south of the Equator, south-eastward to French Polynesia. Occasionally, the rain band moves northwards towards the Equator by ip to 1,000 kilometers, inducing extreme climate events. (more…)
The number of those big storms has doubled in the last 50 years, with greatest increase in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.
“Global studies already show that human-caused climate change is driving more extreme precipitation, and now we’ve documented how great the increase has been in the Midwest and linked the extreme storms to flooding in the region,” said Rocky Mountain Climate Organization president Stephen Saunders,” suggesting that it might not be accurate to simply characterize the storms as natural disasters. “And if emissions keep going up, the forecast is for more extreme storms in the region,” he said. (more…)
Budget crunch forces hundreds of stations to shut down, many more threatened by lack of funding
Click on the map to visit an interactive version with site-specific information.
Scott Hummer, the former Blue River Basin water commissioner for the State Engineer's Office, checks a USGS gage on Tenmile Creek in Frisco, Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —Unless it’s in a bucket or a measuring cup, water isn’t exactly the easiest substance to track. Ever-changing, from vapor to solid to liquid, and ever-moving, from stream to river to lake to ocean, it can be tough to measure.
So for years, ranchers, town planners and even angler and kayakers have relied on a huge network of streamflow gages maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey to help monitor water quality, measure and predict peak spring runoff and flooding potential, or even just the best time run some whitewater or to go fishing. In some places, the streamflow information is critical to helping protect endangered species.
But that network is shrinking, due mainly to budget constraints that already forced the USGS to shut down stations around the country. Just in the past few years, the agency stopped operating 133 water quality stations, many in New Mexico and Florida. (more…)
July 27 is the latest fill date in recent memory, but careful operations helped reduce downstream flooding risk while ensuring maximum usable supplies
A moody winter scene along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After weeks of carefully juggling inflows, releases through the outlet works and diversions through the Roberts Tunnel, Denver Water officials said Dillon Reservoir filled completely July 27 and started spilling through the overflow drain, known as the glory hole.
It may be the latest the reservoir has ever filled, said Bob Steger, the Denver Water engineer who leads a team that computes the inflow forecasts and other information used to adjust the valves on the outlet works, sometimes on a daily basis.
Mudslide partially blocks Highway 9 north of Silverthorne
A bolt of lightning strikes Buffalo Mountain, in Summit County, Colorado as slow-moving thunderstorms soak the area July 18. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
SUMMIT COUNTY — The National Weather Service Monday evening reported flash flooding from Blue River to Breckenridge and warned that the flooding may extend into the Lower Blue Valley, north of Silverthorne later, extending a flash flood warning until 10:45 p.m.
In Breckenridge, Airport Road was closed due to high water, as up to three inches of rain fell across parts of Summit County, according to the National Weather Service’s cooperative observer network. The flash flood warning specifically named Sawmill and Cucumber Creek, as well as French Gulch as potential trouble spots.
Flooding along roads and overflowing culverts are also likely. The heavy rain will probably trigger rock and mudslides on steeper terrain. A tweet from The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore suggested there have already been rockslides near Breckenridge.
Rock Slides have occurred near Breckenridge, CO as 3 inches of rain has fallen in the last 90 minutes. #cowx— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) July 19, 2011
Highway 9 north of Silverthorne was down to one lane alternating in each direction following a mudslide, according to CDOT’s CoTrip website.
Via Facebook, Debbie Siegel Tyber says, “Watch out for Moonstone Road. Water rushing across the road and it’s washed out in spots.”
A NOAA satellite image shows an impressive plume of subtropical moisture rotating clockwise around high pressure and streaming into Colorado. More thunderstorms are forecast for Tuesday.
VIDEO: Lightning, rain and thunder in Frisco, Colorado
Links in all the tweets are live …
There was also flooding in other parts of the state.
Rio Grande Trail closed at the Roaring Fork River bridge between Carbondale and Catherine Store due to mud and debris flows. Twitpics later.— Bill Kight (@bkite11) July 19, 2011
There were also tornado warnings for the Cortez area, where a tornado has been reported.
Tornado touches down SW of Cortez Colorado. Large Oak Tree down. Only major damage reportso far. Storm still severe. #cowx— Mark Ronchetti (@KRQEMark) July 19, 2011
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Moffat and Rio Blanco County in CO until 10:00pm MDT. #cowx— Severe Warnings (@severewarn) July 19, 2011
Developers of a proposed motorsports park envision it as an alternative to golf when business meetings are tight on time, a destination for family vacations or a spot to test what a newly purchased car can do.
Six grueling obstacles strung end to end along 370 feet stood between 31-year-old Isaac Caldiero, dressed as Jesus, and the chance to become the first American-born Ninja Warrior, so determined by reality television.