Latest News – June 15

Rising Water: Roads Closures, Flow Release at Twin

Two Lake County roads were closed and barricaded to traffic yesterday due to rising water and flooding threats. See MAP.

One of Leadville's favorite old mining camps, Stumptown is experiencing record high water levels from spring run-off and continual rain storms. The historic roadways looked more like the streets of Venice than Leadville as flood levels surrounded the old mining shanties that have stood strong in the area for more than 100 years. Photo: Leadville Today

One of Leadville’s favorite mining camps, Stumptown is experiencing record high water levels from spring run-off and continual rain storms. The historic roadways looked more like the streets of Venice than Leadville as flood waters surrounded the old shanties that have stood strong in the area for more than 100 years. Photo: Leadville Today

To the east of Leadville, up near Mosquito Pass, County Road 3 is closed between County Road 3A and 3B due to severe road damage.

Lake County Road and Bridge crews have been working in the area, replacing culverts that are near comprise from the water flow. Crews have replaced two culverts at the junction of County Roads 3 and 38, near the turnoff to Stumptown, according to Brad Palmer, Director of Public Works for Lake County. They continue to monitor the situation up near the Diamond Mine where capacity is reaching a near historic level, putting a lot of pressure on the pipes.

Normally dry roadways have turned into small rivers, slowing eroding and redesigning the area by its sheer force. Photo:Leadville Today

Normally dry roadways have turned into small rivers, slowing eroding and redesigning the area by its sheer force. Photo:Leadville Today

The former historic mining camp,  known as Stumptown looks like the streets of Venice, Italy, with huge amounts of water surrounding the historic buildings have stood strong for over 100 years. The upper regions of that basin had morphed into a series of cascading waterfalls. Many roads were beginning to show signs of erosion, with sizeable puddles, and in some cases, turning normally dry passage ways into temporary streams.

While the eastside former mining district is used regularly by local recreationalists, the area will see a sizeable increase in foot and vehicle traffic this weekend as the Leadville Race Series hosts its annual Marathon foot race, which traverses through now saturated alpine basin. In fact, parts of that race course are reported to have snow drifts, measuring in feet, along its path.

The rain continued to fall yesterday afternoon, creating road flooding and forcing the closures of this portion of County Road 99, near Leadville Junction. Photo: Leadville Today

The rain continued to fall yesterday afternoon, creating road flooding, forcing the closure of this portion of County Road 9, near Leadville Junction. Photo: Leadville Today

Across the way on the west end of town, County Road 9 is closed due to high water at County Road 99 and CR9 junction, more commonly known as Leadville Junction, one of the portal into Turquoise Lake. This area has always dealt with flooding issues, prompting the replacing of three culverts several years ago. Although this year’s huge water is giving the pass-throughs a true test. The water was breaching the roadway at several point, eroding the pavement, and forcing local officials to close the regularly used “back way” route to and from town.

Local heavy rains and spring snow melt have native streams and rivers seeing their high point this second week in June, a week later than normal. While blue skies prevail this morning, this week’s weather pattern calls for more afternoon rains and possible snow showers at the higher elevations, although mid-week could see a break, with sunny skies during the day.

Crews with Lake County Road and Bridge, Lake County Office of Emergency Management and the Lake county Sheriff’s office will continue to monitor all potential flooding locations, closing and opening roads as appropriate for public safety. 

Historic flooding along County Road 99 prompted the installation of these three new culverts several years ago. High spring run off is giving these new pipes a true test. Photo: Leadville Today

Historic flooding along County Road 9 prompted the installation of three new culverts several years ago. High spring run off is giving these new pipes a true test of strength. Photo: Leadville Today

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Twin Lakes Update – Flows to Lake Creek to Increase

In the southern part of Lake County, the Bureau of Reclamation announced on Friday, June 12 that water releases being made from Twin Lakes and passed down to Lake Creek will be increasing.

“This water release is a standard native flow release that we make every year and is just happening to coincide with increased rain and snow melt in the area,” said Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Jaci Gould.

All native inflows into Twin Lakes are passed down to Lake Creek. Last Friday the BOR released more water due to high spring runoff levels.

All native inflows into Twin Lakes are passed down to Lake Creek. Last Friday the Bureau of Reclamation released more water due to high spring runoff levels.

All native inflows into Twin Lakes, or snow melt runoff and rain, are passed down to Lake Creek and released as they come in. Twin Lakes Canal Company however has been storing native inflows to Twin Lakes over the past three weeks under their water right. As they approach their storage limit, the Bureau of Reclamation has been increasing native flows down Lake Creek to match the native inflows. 

“Twin Lakes Canal Company shut off their transmountain diversion at Twin Lakes Tunnel because their facility is near full,” said Gould. “They turned the tunnel on for a short time later this week to help alleviate minor flooding on the west slope. They stored that water temporarily and the tunnel has now been shut off again. 

Reclamation, along with the Twin Lakes Canal Company, continues to monitor inflows and water being released downstream in concurrence with Reclamation’s Safety of Dams protocol and procedures.

 

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