Warm weather causes flooding

Runoff, rain mix makes for road woes


Warming temperatures and a quick shot of snow added up to rising waters in Craig and headaches for city road workers.

"The problem is that the ground is frozen, and the water is just running over the frost," said Randy Call, director of the City of Craig Road and Bridge Department. "We've got to keep the water under control and keep it going where it's supposed to go."

Temperatures in the mid-40s Monday and Tuesday forced local officials to close Moffat County Road 35 on Tuesday afternoon as water as deep as 20 inches gushed across it.

On Wednesday, city workers worked to keep water flowing through culverts and off area roadways.

That's exactly what road and bridge foreman Dan White was doing Wednesday afternoon on Wickes Avenue on the west side of Craig.

"We pulled some wood out of the culvert," White said as his truck was parked in a foot of water. "This is just natural runoff, and it's flooding out into the street."

White said he spent yesterday melting frozen culverts with a steamer he had borrowed from the water department.

"We just blast some hot water into the culvert until it starts flowing again," White said.

Steve Simpson and Karen Halliday could not control the water flow at their home on East Victory Way, which Call said is one of Craig's problem areas.

The couple's front yard flooded Tuesday and water flowed across their driveway.

Halliday said the yard floods once a year when the snow starts to melt. She said the flooding doesn't bother her; she said she even finds the scene pretty.

The flooding does not cause much damage to the couple's mobile home, but Simpson said he typically fills in some dirt to keep his banks solid.

"It's no huge deal," Simpson said. "There's nothing you can do about it. It's nature."

Call noted that every spring road crews face the same problem areas, including East Victory Way and other low spots across town.

Tuesday night's rain turned to snow and about 3 to 4 inches fell by Wednesday morning. Call said he was prepared for more reports from homeowners about rising water.

"We're gonna see how wild it gets," he said. "We worked until 6 o'clock (Tuesday) night on blocked culverts."

Sometimes people bring the problems on themselves by letting tree limbs and yard waste build up in drainage areas, Call said.

He also pointed out that in his many years in Craig he had never seen the stock pond on Bryan Way full of water. On Tuesday, it overflowed.

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