NWS forecasting limited Front Range flooding despite large snowpack

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — A flood warning has been issued Friday afternoon for portions of Routt County in northwest Colorado where historic snowfall continues to melt. 

That above-average snowpack has already produced flooding in towns like Hayden, where property damage is being reported.

But could that snow produce problems in Denver this spring? NWS meteorologist Greg Heavener says probably not. 

“It’s been a relatively slow melt off, so it’s causing some heightened conditions, some increased flows, maybe some streams that haven’t run in a few years are running this year, some ditches as well, but for the more part we’re not really forecasting any impacts with the snow melt off this year.” he says. 

Heavener says forecasters are paying close attention this year, knowing the right conditions could create dangerous situations. 

Specifically, they’re watching for a quick warm-up over areas where snow is still deep, combined with heavy rains in that area.

“If we’re seeing temperatures that could spike into the 80s or even 90s across the region, that could increase the intensity of the melt-off as well as the rain on the snow.” says Heavener. “If we see a rapid warm up, and we get heavy rain on top of that warm up, you’re unlocking all that moisture within that snow, and that snow could hold anywhere from 5 to 6 inches of liquid within its core.”

Heavener says they’re also paying close attention to burn scars, including Cameron Peak and East Troublesome, that still pose a significant risk even multiple years after the fire. 

Source : https://kdvr.com/news/local/nws-forecasting-limited-front-range-flooding-despite-large-snowpack/

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