Watch CBS News

Worst May Be Yet To Come As Snowmelt Pushes Colorado Rivers Higher

DENVER (CBS4) - As the mountain snowpack continues to melt, rivers and streams are on the rise across Colorado, especially in the northern half of the state.

But the worst may be yet to come.

Colorado has been lucky this spring in that every time the weather warmed up, it was immediately followed by a cool down. That pattern kept the rate of snowmelt at a slow and steady pace for most of the month of May.

But as we move into June, areas with deep snowpack are starting to see daily temperatures rise as high as 70 degrees, and stay above freezing at night.

The latest plot from the South Platte River basin shows there is still about 15 inches of water in the snowpack. (credit: NRCS)

In addition to the warmer weather, there is also concern for more rain later this week.

  • Some forecast models show a pattern setting up by Friday that would pump more moisture into the state


  • Moisture from Hurricane Amanda, currently spinning off the coast of Mexico, could get caught up in the jet steam and move toward the central Rockies later this week


Over the next few days, there will likely be some fluctuation in river levels. In fact, in some places, the waters could even drop a bit.

But overall, the trend for the next several days will be for fast, high waters, that could potentially last well into the month of June.

Here are a few of the latest water levels reported to the National Weather Service.


  • Mouth of the Canyon above Fort Collins - Take action stage is 6 feet, flood stage is 7.5 feet. The river was 6.41 feet at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and at 6.22 feet at 12:45 p.m..


  • Greeley - Take action stage is 7 feet, flood stage is 8 feet. The river was 8.85 feet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and at 8.91 feet at 12:30 p.m.. Moderate flood stage is 9.5 feet, major flood stage is 11 feet.



  • Near Orodell - Take action stage is 4 feet, flood stage is 7 feet. The creek was 3.24 feet at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday and 3.2 feet at 12:15 p.m..


  • At Boulder - Take action stage is 4.5 feet, flood stage is 5.5 feet. The creek was 3.57 feet at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and 3.51 feet at 12:45 p.m..



  • At Nederland - Take action stage is 3.5 feet, flood stage is 4.5 feet. The creek was 2.5 feet at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday and 2.47 feet at 12:15 p.m..



  • Near Winter Park - Take action stage is 2.5 feet, flood stage is 3.5 feet. The river was 2.21 feet at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and 2.26 feet at 12:45 p.m..



View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.