The Pueblo West View

Arkansas River far from flooding in Pueblo

CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/CHRIS MCLEAN
The Arkansas River rushes across one of the features of the Pueblo Whitewater Park through Downtown on Friday. The river has been rising over the past week as snow upstream in the mountains is melting, bringing the annual runoff to the Upper Arkansas area.
CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/CHRIS MCLEAN The Arkansas River rushes across one of the features of the Pueblo Whitewater Park through Downtown on Friday. The river has been rising over the past week as snow upstream in the mountains is melting, bringing the annual runoff to the Upper Arkansas area.

The Arkansas River in Pueblo is running high and fast but it’s far from creating flood concerns, according to the National Weather Service.

The river is running about 6.27 feet high and at 3,200 cubic feet per second, according to measurement data taken Friday evening at the Pueblo Dam.

“That’s running about 2 feet from even the minor flood stage level,” Larry Walrod, lead forecaster with the NWS Pueblo office, said. “The flow out of Pueblo Dam is controlled so they have the ability to control releases and they still have room for storage in case they need it.”

Walrod said river speeds would have to get up to around 5,500 cubic feet per second before flooding problems would arise.

While river water levels and speed are not at problematic levels for potential flooding, it should be noted that the river is still running higher and faster than usual.

“It’s generally good for the rafting industry but it poses a danger to people in or near the river,” Walrod said. “Water coming down in the flow is cold with temperatures in the 40s and 50s, which is shocking to the system and can take your breath away. Also, with the water running high for the first time since last summer, any debris from the winter gets swept into the current and that’s definitely hazardous.”

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