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U.S. Rep. Polis asks for congressional hearing on toxic spills after Colorado floods

State officials tracking numerous flood-related spills

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A Sept. 17 Landsat 8 image shows South Platte River flooding near Greeley, Colorado. For more information on this image, please visit this NASA Earth Observatory website.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A spate of potentially dangerous spills from oil and gas producing facilities resulting from recent flooding in Colorado may be scrutinized under a congressional spotlight.

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) hav asked the House Resources Committee to hold a hearing on oil and gas spills caused by the recent catastrophic floods in Colorado. 

“Not only have my constituents been dealing with damage to their homes, schools, and roads, they are increasingly concerned about the toxic spills that have occurred from the flooding of nearly 1,900 fracking wells in Colorado,” Polis said. “Congress must deal with this issue to ensure that natural disasters do not also become public health disasters.” Continue reading

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Summit County: High water closing roads, recpath

This section of the recpath near Breckenridge, Colorado is now closed. Click on the image to see a video of the washout.

Denver Water maintaining steady outflow from Dillon Reservoir just below flood level

 

*Click here to view a Summit Voice video of the Coyne Valley Road washout

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — High runoff and heavy rains have led to some traffic disruptions, as State Highway 9 has been cut to one lane of travel between Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass. CDOT workers are monitoring traffic and alternating travel for north- and southbound traffic.

In Breckenridge, Coyne Valley Road is closed until further notice due to flooding. Drivers should use the detour on Airport Rd through the Block 11 property as an alternate route to Valleybrook Rd and HWY 9.

Also, Airport Road at Summit Landscaping is closed until further notice due to high water. Businesses are open in the area. Detours are in place. And the recpath is now closed until further notice between Coyne Valley Road and 13217 Highway 9 (at High Country Furniture & Gallery). The Rec path is closed until further notice. Town officials are asking cyclists to  avoid this portion of the bike path due to the dangerous, high water conditions. Continue reading

Colorado: Flash flood watch issued for much of the state

Heavy rains expected today, with drying trend the next few days

Flash flood watch in effect through midnight across much of Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A flash flood watch is in effect through midnight across large parts of Colorado, as another surge of deep monsoonal moisture from the south brings a good chance of moderate heavy rains to much of the state.

With the ground already saturated in many areas, persistent rain could trigger dangerous high flows in some rivers and streams, as well as rock and mudslides in steeper canyons and hillsides.

Other areas of concern named specifically by the NWS are Piceance Creek in Rio Blanco County, areas south of Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Aspen and route 133 south of Carbondale as well as areas south of Gateway along Route 141 and Route 50 south of Delta. Continue reading

Colorado: Forest Service reporting flood-damaged roads

This Forest Service road in Eagle County has turned into a river. PHOTO BY KIM FENSKE.

Heavy runoff, rains are hampering access to backcountry areas in Colorado

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Recent heavy rains have caused already swollen streams to do considerable damage to popular roads on the Eagle/Holy Cross District of the White River National Forest.

A culvert on Forest Service Road 704, which accesses the Missouri-Fancy Trailhead, overflowed July 7. A Forest Service road crew is currently clearing the debris but the roadbed remains soft.  Road 727 in the adjacent area also flooded. Travel is not recommended on either road.

“We understand that these road conditions further limit public access to the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. We regret any inconvenience this situation may cause the public,” said District Ranger Dave Neely.  “I hope folks will understand that we take concerns for public safety and resource protection very seriously and did not make this decision lightly. Forest Service road maintenance crews are working on both roads and hope to have them in usable condition as soon as possible.” Continue reading

Summit Voice: Most-viewed and week in review

Flood warnings and wildfires dominated the headlines

A wildfire in Keystone Gulch burned to within a few hundred feet of this house on Soda Ridge Road, Summit County, Colorado.

SUMMIT COUNTY — This week’s most-viewed story list is kind of biblical, filled with warnings of floods and reports of wildfires near and far, but it does show that accurately reported and timely news is still one of the ingredients for success. But even though these stories dominated in terms of page views, we posted many other interesting stories this past week, some of which would have easily been in the top three nearly any other week. We’ve recently reported on plans for a new ice rink at Keystone and a zip line at Copper Mountain, and, as usual, offered a full slate of environmental stories. Scroll through the list of headlines and click if one of them catches your eye, then don’t forget to use the share button to spread the word via your own social media networks.

Colorado: Record runoff possible in Blue River Basin

Denver Water warns of possible high flows in Lower Blue

Record snowpack and warming temps could combine to lead to flooding downstream of Dillon Reservoir. PHOTO BY DYLAN BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The latest snowpack measurements and weather forecasts have prompted Denver Water to warn residents of the Lower Blue Valley, below Dillon Reservoir, to be prepared for flooding flows in the Blue River.

Combined inflows into the reservoir from the Upper Blue, the Snake River, Tenmile Creek and various smaller tributaries are forecast to peak in the range of 2,800 to 4,100 cubic feet per second. the average this time of year is about 1,700 cfs, and the record peak, set in 1995, is 3,408 cfs.

Denver Water tries to operate the reservoir so the peak outflow does not exceed 1,800 cfs, which is approximately the “bank-full” condition for the Blue River downstream of the dam. Because of this year’s exceptionally high snowpack and the uncertainty of the amount, timing and rate of the melt, it may not be possible to keep the peak outflow below 1,800 cfs, Denver Water said in an advisory bulletin issued June 3. Continue reading

Summit County: More flood warnings issued

As of May 31, the Colorado Water Conservation Board put Summit County into a flood advisory zone where minor flooding is expected. Click on the map to visit the CWCB's flood info page.

Mid-week warmup is expected to raise river levels’ low-lying areas at risk for flooding

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With Summit County already in a flood advisory zone identified by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, local officials are saying that now is the time for sand-bagging.

“Effects of the runoff are already being reported around the county,” said Sheriff John Minor. “We’re seeing rising waters in those low-lying areas that typically experience springtime flooding, like the Lakeview Meadows and South Forty subdivisions.”

The statewide snowpack is about 250 percent of normal for this time of year, and warmer weather the next few days could send streamflows spiking to levels not seen in many years.

“We haven’t seen these conditions since 1984, 1995 or 1996, all years where we saw significant flooding issues throughout the county,” said county emergency manager Joel Cochran. Just because your property hasn’t experienced flooding before, don’t automatically assume you’ll stay dry this year, Cochran said. Continue reading

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