Media Release from Morgan County PIO Rogelio Segura. Information update from 6 p.m. on May 12, 2015.
Local officials and emergency personnel continue to monitor water levels and make preparations for possible flooding by the South Platte River. Morgan County Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring and has been operational since Saturday May 9th.
Evacuation triggers and zones have been established. Early warning system Hyper Reach pre-evacuation notifications and face-to-face pre-evacuation notices have been given to residents in the Orchard and Goodrich areas as a precautionary measure should evacuation be necessary once the crest of water in the South Platte from Weld County begins to enter Morgan County . Evacuation points have been pre-established at Weldon Valley School, Fort Morgan High School and Brush Middle School. These evacuation points will not be activated until evacuation notices go out via early warning system Hyper Reach and door to door notifications to evacuate begin by the Morgan County Sheriff Office and supporting agencies.
Current Activities and ConditionsAt this time Morgan County is experiencing widespread damage to county roads unlike the 2013 flooding that was localized to areas near the South Platte. The 2015 floods and heavy rainfall have created damage over large portions of Morgan County. County Public Works has been working diligently to identify damaged roads with assistance from supporting agencies throughout the county. Work on the county roads to make them “passable” has been ongoing and headway is being, but travelers are still advised to use caution when driving on county roads. Approximately 26 square miles of Morgan County’s 36 square miles have seen road damage and road closures at this time. For up to date road closures in Morgan County please go to www.co.morgan.co.us.
The heavy rainfall that took place on May 8th and 9th over the Front Range and northeast Colorado created conditions that were not factors in 2013 flooding.
The combination of saturating rains in the first part of May and the May 8th and 9th heavy rain storms left us with more water than the creeks and drainages could handle. Flooding due to rain water started to move east through the county washing over county roads (both dirt and pavement).The southwest and northeast portions of the county were greatly affected and the majority of roads in these areas we impassable by vehicle due to water either running over the roads or water cutting trenches through the road.
The large amounts of rain runoff that fell in Elbert, Adams and Morgan Counties filled creeks that flow into Morgan County from the east county line. These creeks have laid dormant for nearly 40 years other than the occasional heavy rain runoff that is usually absorbed into the ground and nowhere near as much as we have seen over the last week. The Kiowa Creek, Bijou Creek, Antelope Creek and Rock Creek were all running at full capacity and in most cases widespread breaching took place along those creeks as it continued east through the county. Both the Kiowa and Bijou Creeks entered into the South Platte just west of the City of Fort Morgan and contributed to higher water levels in the South Platte which was already running high from waters coming down the South Platte from the front range rainfall and spring runoff from the mountain snow melt. At this time both the Kiowa and Bijou Creeks have receded greatly, but are still flowing into the South Platte as the remainder of flood water is discharged. The Antelope Creek which enters Morgan County from Adams County was also running over capacity and caused heavy damage and dangerous conditions in the southwest portion of the county. These conditions caused the closure of Hwy 52 south of Wiggins to Hudson due to water running over the highway and in some cases through the highway. CDOT has since repaired Hwy 52 and it is now open from Wiggins to Hudson.
The front edge of the flood water crest in the South Platte is expected to enter Morgan County late tonight and pass through our county throughout tomorrow into tomorrow night. This flow is being closely monitored by the Morgan County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff. The EOC will remain open for the duration of this flood event until the water passes through the east side of the county and hazardous conditions to the Morgan County citizens has subsided.
Public Health and EnvironmentFor citizens that utilize well water to supply their residence and that have been affected by flood waters the Northeast Colorado Health Department is offering free well water testing and tetanus shots for those citizens in need.
For information on well testing or public health related questions please go to www.nchd.org and click on the resource tab or call 970-522-3741.
Damage ReportsMorgan County Officials will be posting information for Morgan County residence to report damages you may have received due to this flood event. More information to follow.
Morgan County Emergency Operations Center 24 hour number: 970-542-3510
If you have photos you would like to share with us please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Prepared by NPAC member Ken Jansma on behalf of Morgan County PIO Rogelio Segura.