Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Silverthorne have received notification from Denver Water that flow levels in the Blue River are to be increased up to 1,000 cfs today, June 1, 2020.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 1, 2020
Contact: Erin Opsahl
Contact: Kristina Nayden
SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND TOWN OF SILVERTHORNE CLOSE BLUE RIVER
SUMMIT COUNTY, CO – Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Silverthorne have received notification from Denver Water that flow levels in the Blue River are to be increased up to 1,000 cfs today, June 1, 2020, presenting a serious safety hazard to users of the river, in particular in the area of the Sixth Street Bridge. Therefore effective immediately, given the high risk of serious injury or even death presented by these circumstances, Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons and Chief John Minor have jointly determined that for the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare it is necessary to temporarily close the Blue River from the base of the Dillon Dam to the Sixth Street Bridge. The temporary closure will remain in effect until river levels lower and recreational boaters can safely pass under the bridge. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Silverthorne will continue to work with Denver Water officials to monitor the outflow of the Dillon Dam.
With river flows on the rise, Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons encourages residents and visitors to be mindful of high water levels and potential flooding throughout the area. Waterways in and around Summit County can pose increased safety risks this time of year, as the spring snowmelt reaches peak runoff.
As of the end of May, cumulative precipitation in the Upper Colorado watershed is around average, so Summit County residents, visitors and property owners should remain vigilant when it comes to swift-water safety and flood preparedness.
“After several warmer weeks and daily thunderstorm activity our runoff flows are arriving and over the past week we are starting to see a steady rise in water levels in most of Summit County’s rivers and streams,” said Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons. “Everyone needs to treat these waterways with respect and caution right now, because a river during runoff season is a lot more powerful than what we’re accustomed to during the rest of the year.”
As of June 1st, the Blue River was running at 1000 cubic feet per second (cfs) below Dillon Reservoir. Other flows into Lake Dillon are currently measuring; Blue River flowing into the reservoir from Breckenridge is 420cfs; Tenmile Creek is flowing at 643 cfs below its confluence with North Tenmile Creek; Straight Creek is flowing at 71 cfs;
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office urges people to be cautious of fast currents caused by elevated flows when they’re participating in outdoor activities on or near the water this spring and early summer. It’s especially dangerous for children and pets playing along the shores of fast-moving water, as they can easily slip on wet, muddy banks and be swept away.
Stream flows are likely to be high during extended periods of warm, sunny weather and during prolonged rain events. Flows in some stretches are also influenced by the release of water from dams. Summit County’s rivers and streams typically experience peak flows during late May through mid-June.
The Sheriff’s Office strongly discourages people from any recreational activities in the water without proper training, experience and equipment. The agency recommends the following guidelines to stay safe around high water:
If flooding occurs, get to higher ground immediately.
Stay away from flood-prone areas, including dips, low spots, valleys, ditches, washes, etc.
Avoid flooded areas and those with fast-moving water.
Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. Six inches of moving water is all it takes to sweep a person off his or her feet.
Don’t allow children or pets to play near high water, storm drains, culverts or ditches.
Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. Never drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. It only takes two feet of water to wash away most automobiles.
Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly when water levels are high or fluctuating.
When recreating in or around the water, use the proper size and type of personal floatation device (PFD, or life jacket).
Anglers should wear wading belts to prevent water from entering waders during a fall.
Be especially cautious at night, when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Monitor NOAA Weather Radio or your local media for vital weather-related information.
Local and state officials are constantly monitoring flows in waterways throughout Summit County and are prepared to respond to any flooding.
Members of the public are encouraged to review the Summit County Swift Water Safety and Flood Preparedness Guide at www.SummitCountyCO.gov/flood. The guide contains information on the history of high water events in Summit County, instructions on building a sandbag levee, household checklists, safety tips, flood insurance information and more.