Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Flooding potential in western streams


Hot Springs County Emergency Management would like to ask residents on western streams, particularly Owl Creek, to be aware the State Engineer’s Office and Bureau of Reclamation fell there is potential for very high spring snow melt runoff this year.

Though a lot of snow below 9,000 feet has already melted, a large snowpack remains in the high altitude peaks at the far west end of our county.

Those peaks stretch over 12,000 feet, so the melt is not expected to begin for two to three weeks.

Despite planning and management efforts the runoff may well exceed stream capacity and there is potential for flooding of low areas along the creeks.

The situation will be monitored and further announcements will be made.

In the meantime, it is recommended people move vehicles, farm equipment, campers and livestock away from the immediate area of the creeks.

Those who want to discuss obtaining sandbags and sand, please call dispatch at 864-2622 and your information will be passed along to Hot Springs County Emergency Management.

Bill Gordon, coordinator with HSC Emergency Management, recently shared an announcement from the Bureau of Reclamation that releases from Anchor Dam are being increased from 30 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 100 cfs, which will result in a noticeable flow increase in Owl Creek.

Anchor is fed by South Fork, while North Fork is uncontrolled.

The bureau is looking to create as much storage as they can in Anchor so they can back off releases in South Fork when North Fork peaks.

Gordon stated, “If South Fork and North Fork are allowed to run full blast at the same time, it may be more water than we want all at once down here.”

Cool temperatures are forecast through Thursday. Runoff from the high altitude snows will start down when temperatures start to warm up again.


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