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High water levels can pose safety hazards for boaters, drivers, children and pets
Erin Opsahl, Public Information Officer
Summit County Sheriff’s Office
SUMMIT COUNTY – With river flows on the rise, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents and visitors to be mindful of high water levels throughout the area. Waterways in and around Summit County can be dangerous this time of year, as the spring snowmelt peaks.
“Unfortunately, we see people getting in over their heads every year during the spring runoff,” Special Operations Sgt. Mark Watson said. “Over the past week, we’ve started to see a real uptick in the volume of water that’s flowing through our local rivers and streams. Everyone needs to treat these waterways with respect and caution.”
As of June 2, the Blue River was running at 377 cubic feet per second (cfs) below Dillon Reservoir, and Tenmile Creek was running at about 400 cfs below North Tenmile Creek.
When participating in outdoor activities on or near the water this spring, the Sheriff’s Office urges people to be cautious of fast currents caused by elevated flows. It’s especially dangerous for children and pets playing along the shores of fast-moving water, as they can easily slip on wet, muddy banks and be swept away.
The Sheriff’s Office strongly discourages people from any recreational activities in the water without proper training, experience and equipment.
“Last year, a group of young women from a bachelorette party decided to take some toy rafts down Tenmile Creek, and none of them were wearing life jackets,” Sgt. Watson said. “The rafts made it to Frisco Marina. The women did not. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but they were extremely lucky in that regard.”
Stream flows are likely to be especially high during extended periods of warm, sunny weather and during prolonged rain events. Flows in some stretches are also influenced by the release of water from dams. Summit County’s rivers and streams typically experience peak flows during late May through mid-June.
The Sheriff’s Office recommends the following guidelines to stay safe around high water:
For more information about swift-water safety and flood preparedness, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/flood.