Flood warnings in effect for some Colorado rivers and creeks as thunderstorms are expected to continue

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Arkansas River Whitewater Park on a warm winter’s day, Jan. 30, 2024.

Flood warnings are in effect near several Colorado rivers Monday as late spring snowmelt continues to engorge waterways. 

The Colorado Water Conservation Board said several rivers across Colorado are at the Action Stage, meaning flows are close to the top of their banks. Many rivers are expected to enter Flood Stage by Wednesday, which means high water levels could impact roads and buildings in low-lying areas. 

The Arkansas River near Cañon City and Pueblo could cause some of the worst flooding if it spills over its banks. The river is expected to rise to 10.3 feet by Tuesday evening. It last reached that level in 2015, which caused major flooding across Pueblo County

The Colorado River in Grand County, the Gore Creek in Eagle County and the Fraser River from Winter Park to Granby are also under flood advisories, with levels still rising quickly.

Only the Arkansas River is under a flood warning, meaning flooding is imminent or already occurring. Other impacted rivers are under flood advisories, meaning flooding may cause significant inconvenience and dangerous situations if caution is not exercised.

Conditions could worsen should heavy rain fall in affected areas. The National Weather Service said scattered thunderstorms are expected across the vast majority of the state through Tuesday..

Officials are warning people to avoid entering bodies of water with flooding conditions. A combination of rapidly fluctuating currents, surging flows and cold water temperatures could lead to drownings. If a road is flooded at all, the NWS says to turn around and find an alternate route. 

Some rivers that aren’t under flood advisories still have dangerous conditions. Boulder County’s Sheriff's Department closed the North Saint Vrain and Saint Vrain creeks last week to tubing, citing spring run-off and regularly scheduled release of water from local reservoirs. Clear Creek in Golden is also closed for swimming and tubing.