Important Announcements – High water and upcoming meetings re: Water and Fire Preparedness

Updates as of 6/15/19

Unofficially, here is what is being forecast.  A helicopter fly-over on Tuesday – over the upper basin area – indicated what most assumed, there remains “tons of snow” in the high country.  Platoro is filling at an amazing rate (now holding around 25,000 acre feet).  To reduce the impact, a minimal flow has been released over the past week or so, but that will need to change as the lake level nears capacity/conservation level.  We are hearing that approximately five days remain before excess water will be leaving the reservoir. (this was as of 6/13)

If the snow melt continues at the current rate AND the water being held in Platoro begins to be released at the same rate that it is currently filling – by early next week, we may indeed have a combined and significant runoff for some time to come.

Other area updates – Lake City has issued sand bags to residents given their high-water situation.  A bridge in Sanford has been compromised.  The Rio de De los Pinos is flowing three times the normal rate.  The forestry staff may be deployed this weekend to alert areas of great concern.  And the list continues to grow.

Here are new URL links for Water flows and information as well:

  • The Conejos flow remains constant, reaching over 2,000 CFS each morning for the past week.  Something like 2,250 is the peak so far.
  • Platoro has rapidly filled up to 33,632 acre feet – a significant rise up from around 18,000 nine days ago.
  • The snow pack is estimated (by the best educated guessers) at 60%.
  • The forest service has posted official notices at the Red Bear for all to read – they concern road and campground closures.  The contact is Tom Malacek, Deputy Forest Supervisor – 719-849-3581.
  • Locally, NFSR 250 (Alamosa Canyon Road) is closed from NFSR 260 to Stunner.
  • Several sources for sandbags are available.  Much discussion yesterday as to the value at this stage.
  • Downstream, all 165 water-use priorities have been advised to open their irrigation gates at will.
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 10:am, the Core of Engineers will host a meeting of concerned citizens at the Conejos Courthouse.  Local water administrator Nathan Combs is expected to be in attendance.
  • In Horca, the main road on the cabin side remains flooded in spots and overflow water is gently moving throughout most of the area.  One RV pad on the west side is surrounded by water.  Some are preemptively moving their RVs to higher ground. 
  • Many in the lowest-lying areas are taking the time and effort to raise up mainly garage items – such as freezers, extra refrigerators, etc.
  • On June 27th, from 5-7pm, Adam Moore, Andrea Jones, and Rodney King (and others) will host a community meeting in the Red Bear.  The topics center on evacuations, emergency kits, and the like in the event of fires/floods.  They will be available to answer many of your questions.  All of the precious grasses now green will someday turn brown – thus the concern of fuel for wildfires.  Seems we have to be prepared for all concerns.  Our vigilance does pay off.
  • Last point.  Sometime this next week there is the possibility that the Conejos will run even higher.  A combination of natural run-off from all the tributaries and release (if needed) from the Platoro Reservoir may combine for a much higher than normal CFS. 
  • Official notices will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, please stay vigilant and be as prepared as possible.  And as those of us currently here know, no river activity is deemed safe at this time.  The risk is highly elevated.