Brady: Use extra caution near swollen Poudre River
June 11, 2014
The Poudre River, which runs through our backyard, is a thing of beauty, but during spring runoff and other times it floods, it should be avoided at all costs.
Above-average snowpack in the mountain areas that provide water to the Poudre, combined with a wet spring and grounds still saturated from last fall's floods, are causing the river to stay near or above flood stages longer than usual this spring. Models suggest the river could run higher than normal for weeks to come.
Windsor Severance Fire Rescue crews are asking people to avoid the river and any other urban streams until the runoff subsides and levels are back to normal levels. WSFR, the Town of Windsor, Weld and Larimer County Offices of Emergency Management have activated an incident action plan and regular communications processes during this flooding.
At this point, no activities are deemed safe in or around rivers and streams. Water is extremely powerful and unpredictable, and contact with it can turn to tragedy in a matter of seconds. Even our fire rescue crews are avoiding the river when practicing river rescue scenarios as it poses too much of a risk to be near the water.
The Poudre is expected to rise and fall several times over the next couple of weeks, so roads will be closing and opening accordingly. County and town crews are monitoring the roads constantly and they are shut down as soon as water begins to crest the roadway. This is for your safety as even a few inches of moving water can carry away the largest of vehicles. Please do not drive or walk around barricades. They are placed there for a reason.
One of the keys to being prepared for flood season is to make sure you have a plan. Plans can be found at http://www.ready.gov/floods.
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If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
» Listen to the radio or television for information.
» Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
» Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
» Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
» Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
» Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
» Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moving or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
» Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.
Please be safe and patient during flood season.
Herb Brady, Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Fire Chief