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View Poll Results: 2011 - A Year of Flood, Drought, Fire?
Major Floods only 0 0%
Major Drought only 0 0%
Major Fires only 1 8.33%
All of the above 4 33.33%
None of the above 1 8.33%
Some combination of the above 6 50.00%
Other, please explain 0 0%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:22 AM
 
8,122 posts, read 16,018,215 times
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Yes, it's all likely this year in Colorado--the table is already being set.

Flooding has been the bigger news so far. The northern half of Colorado west of the Continental Divide has a larger than normal snowpack, and the spring was late and cool. With the warmup in the last few days, a lot of that snowpack is going to come down all at once. This morning, word is that I-70 may be closing west of Fruita due to the high water in the Colorado River. There are areas of minor flooding in numerous locations in northwestern Colorado.

Meanwhile, in south-central and southeastern Colorado, severe drought is already happening. In much of southeastern Colorado, the winter was so dry that the winter wheat crop didn't even sprout in many places. In the San Luis Valley, friends there tell me this is the worst drought most of them have ever seen. Many artesian wells have stopped flowing, and most surface water right users--even the most senior--will likely get no irrigation water this summer. As usual, the mainstream Colorado media nearly ignores that story. So, two of Colorado's major agricultural areas are already in serious trouble this year--with little hope of any recovery until at least next year.

The last piece of the picture is the fire potential. The lower elevation areas of Colorado, especially south of US 50 and the most all of Colorado east of the Continental Divide, are drying up rapidly. It is entirely possible for some lower elevation areas to have a raging fire next to a nearly flooding river by later this month. (A significant fire has already occurred on the Colorado-New Mexico border west of Trinidad.) If the Southwest Monsoon is late or weak this summer (normally it begins by early to mid-July in the southern half of Colorado), the southern half of the state could see severe fire potential clear up to the higher elevations by July. As a matter of note, the air quality yesterday in western Colorado was about the worst I've seen in nearly forty years. It is better, temporarily, this morning--but I had a fine coating of ash from the Arizona fires on my car this morning. Unless things change, I would predict the we will be chewing smoke from our own fires in Colorado before the end of July.

"City-slickers" on the Front Range may think that they are immuned from all of this, but it will have very negative effects on the already strained Colorado economy as this year moves forward. They will find out that the health of their metro economy is still very much tied to that of the surrounding hinterlands--and there is serious economic trouble brewing out there in the sticks.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,509 posts, read 11,278,466 times
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As usual, I hope your dire prediction does not come to pass, but I've been following your dire predictions for over 4 years now, so I know that you've been right at least as often as you've been wrong, even though your timing is usually off the mark. Based on current conditions and trends, I think you're providing a sneek peek of the near future with this one.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:45 AM
 
Location: CO
1,390 posts, read 2,499,606 times
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the river we fish North of Ft Collins (NOT the Poudre) is running around 700cfs right now...normally 'good' fishing is around 100cfs and the stream is walkable.

So it's evident the City/Ditch Co. are compensating to handle all the runoff that's starting to flow...good to scour the river channel, but bad for fishing - I don't foresee wetting a line there before mid July

Jazz you are spot-on....all that rain a few weeks ago along the Front Range has resulted in nice lush growth of weeds & grasses in the hills and around the urban/wildland interface areas....fires are inevitable as it all dries out on these warm & windy days.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:57 AM
 
8,122 posts, read 16,018,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
As usual, I hope your dire prediction does not come to pass, but I've been following your dire predictions for over 4 years now, so I know that you've been right at least as often as you've been wrong, even though your timing is usually off the mark. Based on current conditions and trends, I think you're providing a sneek peek of the near future with this one.
Sadly, my prediction is based partly on some conversations I've had over the last few days with some emergency management and water management people. They are preparing--as best they can in these "tight money" times--for some real problems.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:07 AM
 
13,186 posts, read 12,266,956 times
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Jazzlover is right. The orange cones and barricades have been sitting on the side of the road near exit 19 (Fruita exit).The Colorado River crosses underneath the interstate just west of the exit. Although it's been a long time since the previous situation here, what CDOT did is detour all interstate traffic to hwy. 6&50 off exit 19, which wasn't a huge problem as the highway runs fairly close to the interstate. I live less than a quarter mile from the Colorado River and it is really rolling.

Fortunately the air in the GJ area is a tad better than yesterday, where you couldn't hardly see the Grand Mesa (seriously). Yesterday I only did a half hour of yardwork as the winds got up to a steady 30 m.p.h. by mid morning, and even up until 7 p.m. the wind gusted to 50 m.p.h. several times.

Update: Forgot to report what I heard on NBC-11 late last night. Though this is more of a Utah problem, authorities in the Moab area are investigating a fire started last night. They believe juveniles were involved in this one. According to early news this morning several dozen homes have been evacuated. Moab is about an hour and a half drive southwest of Junction.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 06-07-2011 at 10:58 AM..
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:25 AM
 
601 posts, read 614,265 times
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I've been nervous about this summer since we, in Colorado Springs, received *I think* .1 inch of precipitation from November to April. Today is the bluest sky I've seen in at least a week due to the Arizona fires. Our local meterologist keeps saying a drought feeds on itself and I don't see the pattern changing anytime soon. I have kept saying to my family I expect water restrictions to come into play soon, but they haven't come yet. Hopefully they won't come too late- I don't know much about water rights, and I wouldn't ever pretend to, but I wonder if Colo Spgs enacted water restrictions to save water for the farmers down south of us if it would help. I assume it would? I'd rather our water help the farmers than the thirsty Kentucky Bluegrass expanses of lawns here in town.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
10,302 posts, read 11,748,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyt00 View Post
I've been nervous about this summer since we, in Colorado Springs, received *I think* .1 inch of precipitation from November to April. Today is the bluest sky I've seen in at least a week due to the Arizona fires. Our local meterologist keeps saying a drought feeds on itself and I don't see the pattern changing anytime soon. I have kept saying to my family I expect water restrictions to come into play soon, but they haven't come yet. Hopefully they won't come too late- I don't know much about water rights, and I wouldn't ever pretend to, but I wonder if Colo Spgs enacted water restrictions to save water for the farmers down south of us if it would help. I assume it would? I'd rather our water help the farmers than the thirsty Kentucky Bluegrass expanses of lawns here in town.
From what I have read its unlikely we will have any water restrictions as the mountains had more then enough snow and most, if not all, of the reservoirs are full.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
5,227 posts, read 4,496,073 times
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Yesterday here in Delta County the smoke and haze was so bad I couldn't see a thing, topped off with howling gusty hot winds made for a miserable day. This morning Colorado picture postcard weather. Blue sky, can see for miles, light breeze and sunshine. However...on call for flood watch for the Gunnison, it's rising a foot a day and this morning was running at 13,100 cubic feet per second. Told my someone who's lived here all his life, the Gunnison might just flood ALL of Delta this year. And, as jazz mentioned, the Denver news morons we are forced to watch here ignore the fact that it's dry dry dry. Hiking up anyplace that's not irrigated, is tenderbox dry. I hope we won't see an Arizona type fire here but I fear we will. Irrigation here is insane, "oh there's plenty of water use all you want". Let's see how that holds up in late July and August. As I've been told, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

River flow information:

http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWa...?div=4&dist=40
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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KNZZ radio in Grand Junction has just announced the outside lane of westbound Interstate 70 has been closed due to rising water. The inside lane is still open for now.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
1,566 posts, read 1,440,008 times
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What disturbs me is how little government does to address the wildfire/forest fire issues in this country. It's not as if it's something that happens only rarely. There are humongous fires every year in various parts of the west. There ought to be an effective, large, multi-state, flexible forest-fighting organization. That would be far more useful to us than the National Guard. Instead, these idiot governors (talk about the effectiveness of state governments) merely fly in and look at the damage so they can look effective and get reelected. Third world thinking.
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