Colorado High Water Status/Info

Photo Courtesy Chuck Vale, DEM Field Mgr (NW Region)
Colorado’s northern and central mountains have experienced an unusually deep snowpack over the 2010-2011 winter season. Consequently, the speed at which the snow melts, compounded by additional water from spring rains and a new round of mountain snowfall has the potential to create high water conditions throughout the northern and central mountain and Front Range regions.

To ensure effective preparedness for potential flood issues, the State of Colorado’s Colorado Water Conservation Board chairs a Governor’s Flood Task Force and Water Availability Task Force, in partnership with a variety of local, state, federal, nonprofit and private sector entities, to track, coordinate and facilitate response to evolving high water issues across Colorado. During meetings of both task forces, several areas of interest where significantly higher than average snowpacks, which hold the potential to produce high water issues, are being monitored closely, including:

Yampa/White Basin
Steamboat (Routt County) and downstream
Colorado Basin
Frasier (Grand County)
Colorado main stem (Grand County to Mesa County)
Blue (Summit County)
Gunnison Basin
Coal Creek, East River (Crested Butte/Gunnison County)
South Platte Basin
Poudre (Larimer, Weld including Fort Collins and Greeley)

Photo Courtesy Chuck Vale, DEM Field Mgr (NW Region)
Note: All presentations are posted on CWCB Flood Task Force website at

Based on the assessment of the task forces, it is imperative that residents, recreators and business owners, need to be aware and prepared to potential flood conditions. There are a number of resources available to help citizens stay informed of developing high water conditions in Colorado.

Colorado Flood Information Sources
Flood Safety Tips

  • High Water Conditions
  • Know the water conditions in your neighborhood or your destination
  • Stay alert for changing weather conditions
  • Get out of areas subject to flooding like low spots, canyons, and areas downstream from dams
  • Do not attempt to cross water that is above your knees
  • Do not drive over flooded roads or bridges
  • Abandon a stalled vehicle and immediately move to higher ground
Flash Floods

  • Flash floods can move at incredible speeds.
  • If a flash flood warning is issued, or you realize a flash flood is coming, act quickly to save lives. You may have only seconds!
  • Move to high ground - do not attempt to outrun the flood.
  • Even 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet, and a depth of two feet will float your car!
  • NEVER try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. If you come upon flood waters, STOP! TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY.
General Emergency Preparedness/Safety - READYColorado

Photo Courtesy Chuck Vale, DEM Field Mgr (NW Region)
Flood Insurance Information
While flood insurance is available to renter’s, homeowners and businesses, it is not a standard part of insurance policies. It is, therefore, recommended that homeowners, business and renters consult with their insurance agency to understand whether their existing policy covers flood and, if not, to consider adding flood coverage to their policy if they live in areas potentially subject to flooding. Unfortunately, many people affected by floods do not find out their policy does not cover or was insufficient to cover losses incurred as a result of flooding often until it is too late to take action. It should be noted that 20-25% of all flood insurance claims come from outside the mapped 100-year floodplain. Those residents and business owners considering flood insurance should act sooner rather than later because most policies require a 30-day waiting period after application and premium payments are made before policies become effective. For further information regarding flood insurance, reference the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association ( or contact your local insurance provider directly.


Local High Water/Flood Guides
In addition to the general preparedness information for emergency kits, plans and resources available via READYColorado (, through ( and through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Page ( several counties in the areas identified for potential flood issues during the Flood Task Force meeting have developed flood-specific assistance guides for local residents/businesses. Links to the specific, local high water/flood guides are listed below. Of course, each of the counties maintain emergency managemetn websites and links to Colorado emergency management office websites, phone numbers, emails, and local alert system, including SMS/TXT alert, registration pages can be found online at

Boulder County -
Eagle County -
Grand County -
Routt County -
Summit County -