Yampa River flowing 3 times faster than normal | CraigDailyPress.com
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Yampa River flowing 3 times faster than normal

Nicole Inglis

River safety tips

• Wear a properly-sized life jacket, even on an inner tube.

• Be aware of current conditions; rivers are always changing.

• Know the section of river you are boating or floating.

• Be aware of surroundings, like holes, rocks, trees and the weather.

Source: Colorado State Parks

River safety tips

• Wear a properly-sized life jacket, even on an inner tube.

• Be aware of current conditions; rivers are always changing.

• Know the section of river you are boating or floating.

• Be aware of surroundings, like holes, rocks, trees and the weather.

Source: Colorado State Parks

Saturday afternoon seemed like the perfect opportunity to float the Yampa River for one Craig man and his friends. However, he didn’t plan on being pinned up against a log in the middle of the river, unable to get free.

As Craig Fire/Rescue worked to help the man, the current eventually pulled him under, Sheriff Tim Jantz said. There was nothing underneath the log and the man surfaced 20 feet downstream.

“He was very fortunate,” said Jantz, a certified whitewater safety instructor. “It doesn’t seem like much water looking at it, but all of the flow went right to that log.”

The log was situated across a small drop-off, behind Yampa Valley Golf Course.

On Tuesday, Jantz and a team from Colorado State Parks went to try and remove the log before it caused any more problems during what is anticipated to be a busy Fourth of July weekend.

The removal wasn’t necessary because the log had since broken in half and floated away.

As of Monday, the river was flowing at 3,000 cubic feet per second, more than three times the average for this time of year.

Jantz said he hopes people will use caution when planning water activities for the Fourth of July weekend.

“We know that a lot of people will be out on the river this weekend with the holiday, and we don’t want anyone hurt or killed,” he said. “I don’t want to take away from anyone’s fun, but we worry about people not being used to these high flows.”

Jantz said the high flow is because of a combination of snow and rain.

The heavy snow from winter usually melts off and flows down the Yampa from the high country, but it typically peaks much earlier.

Temperatures stayed cool in April, and many spring storms contributed to the run-off continuing heavily through July.

Rainfall in May and June was much higher than average, with June precipitation more than double the norm.

“It’s a blessing in so many ways,” Jantz said. “For irrigation, and rafting season will be extended a bit.”

However, the increased flow can present unforeseen dangers when people want to float or paddle the river on a hot day.

“We ask that people just use caution and know your limits,” he said. “Wear a life vest, even if you’re just on an inner tube. I know it’s not required, but it can give you the difference between life and death.”

Rebecca Green, of Steamboat Springs, dove into Fish Creek to save her son June 13. The 8-year-old managed to grab on to a branch, but Green wasn’t as lucky and was swept away.

Her body was recovered Tuesday.

“It can happen to anyone,” Jantz said. “People just forget it’s a lot bigger than normal.”


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