Salt Lake City, Utah
Released On: May 06, 2011
Snowpack has continued to accumulate at record levels in both basins as a result of the persistent storms and prolonged cool temperatures which have delayed the start of low elevation snowmelt runoff. The May forecast from the River Forecast Center for inflows into Flaming Gorge Reservoir is 139 percent of average. With the anticipated continued snow accumulation, inflows may increase to levels that equal or exceed the record inflows of 1983 and 1984. Forecasted Yampa River flows are currently 197 percent of average and the snowpack conditions are poised to provide the highest river flows since 1922 when records first began to be kept. These numbers could easily increase with the forecast for additional storms to occur in the both basins over the next week.
Once the temperature starts to warm and the snowmelt runoff begins, the Yampa River is anticipated to peak between 29,000 and 39,000 cubic feet per second at Deerlodge (above the Yampa's confluence with the Green). Flows in the Green River are anticipated to be between 31,000 - 41,000 cfs near Jensen and between 46,000 - 61,000 cfs at Green River, Utah. Weather Service flood flows at these two locations are 25,470 cfs and 46,790 cfs respectively. The anticipated high flows equate to a river stage level between 2-4 feet above the average peak at Jensen and between 4-6.5 feet above the average peak at Green River. The peak flow in 2008 at Jensen, Utah was 24,000 cfs, which is expected next week. The forecasted flow this year is 2-3 feet higher than 2008.
Bypass releases at Flaming Gorge Dam initiated Tuesday evening are intended to evacuate reservoir storage to accommodate upstream inflows and allow Reclamation to reduce releases when the Yampa River peaks downstream. Once the peak on the Yampa occurs, Reclamation intends to significantly reduce releases from the dam to minimize the contribution to downstream high flows and the impacts of the Yampa flows. The ability to achieve this will depend on the inflow rates into the reservoir.
Flaming Gorge operations continue to be evaluated hourly and adjusted as new forecast information becomes available. Reclamation is working closely with Utah Division of Water Resources, Forest Service, Daggett County, town of Jensen, and city of Green River to ensure they are aware of the expected flood stage river levels and can plan accordingly.
Reclamation will conduct the public meeting at the Western Park Convention Center, 302 East 200 South, Vernal, Utah at 7:00 pm to share the latest information on forecasted inflows and dam operations and answer questions.
DOI | Recreation.gov | USA.gov
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