Below-average snowpack means low chance of flooding low |

Below-average snowpack means low chance of flooding low

Jeff Swanson

It doesn’t appear as if Craig residents will have any reason to swim with the fishes anytime soon.
According to the latest news release from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), area residents can begin to take their eyes off the banks of the Yampa River and Fortification Creek, as spring snowpack levels remain well below average throughout northwest Colorado.
“Flooding from snowmelt should not be a problem for most of the areas in Colorado this spring,” said Mike Gillespie, of the NRCS. “Unless we get a really, wet rain that lasts for a while, it is doubtful that we will see any trouble in the Yampa or White River valleys.”
For the second consecutive month, most of the major river basins in the state are reporting snowpack at 80 to 90 percent of the average level. Colorado’s snowpack normally reaches the seasonal maximum on April 1.
“The only place that we might be seeing average, or even above average runoff, will be in the Rio Grande Basin and the San Juan Drainage,” Gillespie said. “We saw a pretty mild winter, coupled with the long spring, which is ideal for good spring conditions.”
Residents who remember the flood of 1998, where homes were damaged when Fortification Creek jumped its banks, may want to be prepared just in case, however, it may be too late.
Moffat County Insurance agent Vicki Field said there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective.
“Unless you are dealing with a mortgage company that requires a mortgage, there is usually a waiting period,” she said. “If the river is coming up and you decide to purchase a policy at that point, we’d be more than happy to sell it to you. It just won’t kick in for another 30 days.”
Field also recommends flood insurance for homeowners who don’t live in areas where flooding is a possibility.
“In Craig, it seems as though everyone lives on a hill,” she said. “It is not necessarily where you live, but the problems that the weather can cause.
“If you have any type of water damage from outside forces, such as heavy rains or runoff, that is not covered under a regular homeowner policy.”
Annually, Colorado averages $14 million in flood damages, and currently has 14,663 policies in force with a total coverage of $1,993,400,900.

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