San Juan Flood Advisory is out!

San juan river flowing under bridge

The San Juan looks angry as it flows by Canyon Farms to the south. Photo Credit Debbie McAlister

Flood Advisory Details (Issued Wednesday)

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a Flood
Advisory for the following rivers in Colorado...

  San Juan River at Pagosa Springs affecting Archuleta County.

The combination of warm, spring temperatures and the potential for
periods of rain falling on a deep snowpack will lead to an increase
in runoff due to snowmelt. Flows in rivers may increase quickly and
are expected to exceed bankfull this evening. (Wednesday)

* WHAT...Minor flooding caused by rain and snowmelt is expected.

* WHERE...San Juan River at Pagosa Springs.

* WHEN...From this afternoon (Wednesday) to "Sunday morning" (UPDATE).

* IMPACTS...At 10.3 feet, water is expected to flow into residential
  yards in the San Juan River Village, northeast of Pagosa Springs.

Another rise is expected above bankfull, again, on Saturday morning. Then, forecast guidance indicates water levels fall back below bankfull, and remain below, through the 10 day forecast.

  - Action stage is 9.5 feet.

  - Flood stage is 10.5 feet.

Follow link for full detailed advisory:

Shawn’s Thoughts…

River flow… Snowpack is disappearing quickly in the high country on southern aspects but a considerable amount remains on the northern side. As of this morning the Upper San Juan snotel still has almost 22” of SWE. I think snow run-off will gradually taper over the next 2-3 weeks. However, potential for heavy rain Friday and Saturday could lead to a spike into flood stage for the San Juan.

Navajo Reservoir has increased 40 feet since it’s low in late February. Release out of the reservoir is ramping up to 5,000cfs so I think we are close to the high water mark for the season.

Current San Juan River

Thursday, May 18th, 1PM

San Juan River May 18th 1PM
San Juan River nearing flood stage

Image of the San Juan flowing by Canyon Farms to the south. Photo Credit Debbie McAlister

Current Piedra River

Thursday May 18th, 1:15PM

Piedra River May 18th 1PM

Weather Ready Nation Safety

With the high country snow melt continuing, with heavier rains expected Friday afternoon into Saturday and rivers rising from Friday into Sunday monring, it is a perfect time to reflect on weather safety.

Do you live in or do you travel through a low level area prone to flooding?

  • Assemble your emergency items
  • Know alternate routes to important locations.
  • Make a family communication plan
  • Follow evacuation orders
  • Never drive or walk into floodwaters – Turn around, don’t Drown!
  • Get to higher ground
  • Plan your emergency meeting places
image 1

I recently attended an American Meteorological Society Webinar on the Southern California soakings this past winter and their immediate reflections. With the first atmospheric river event, folks did not take the advisories and warnings seriously. When the rains came, a lot of folks got themselves into precarious situations and three people died. When the second event occurred there were far fewer emergency calls because people took those warnings seriously.

Now, is the time to reflect and discuss the items above with your entire family if you live in a low lying area.

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I grew up in Montana where my love of the mountains is rooted. I was in the Air Force, forecasting aviation weather, for 24 years. I had eight assignments and my favorites were Colorado, Alaska, Korea, and Germany. I deployed a number of times including to Iraq and Afghanistan. After RV traveling for nine years, we found paradise in Pagosa. Here we enjoy playing outside in the spectacular San Juan mountains!
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