Poudre River Sets A Record

By Steven Goddard

From The Declining Spring Snowcover Department

Yesterday afternoon, the Cache La Poudre River set its June 12 stream flow record flowing through Fort Collins, Colorado. At 1:30 and 2:45 PM, the river hit 5,600 cubic feet per second, which broke the previous record of 5,540 feet per second set in 1983. This is normally the week of peak flow for the year.

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 10:15         MDT    8.00            3770

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 10:30         MDT    8.02            3790

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 10:45         MDT    8.19            4010

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 11:00         MDT    8.26            4110

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 11:15         MDT    8.41            4310

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 11:30         MDT    8.49            4420

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 11:45         MDT    8.65            4650

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 12:00         MDT    8.68            4690

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 12:15         MDT    8.73            4770

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 12:30         MDT    8.88            4990

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 12:45         MDT    9.00            5170

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 13:00         MDT    9.02            5200

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 13:15         MDT    9.04            5230

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 13:30         MDT    9.27            5600

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 13:45         MDT    9.21            5500

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 14:00         MDT    9.22            5520

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 14:15         MDT    9.18            5450

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 14:30         MDT    9.25            5570

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 14:45         MDT    9.27            5600

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 15:00         MDT    9.25            5570

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 15:15         MDT    9.24            5550

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 15:30         MDT    9.25            5570

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 15:45         MDT    9.19            5470

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 16:00         MDT    9.19            5470

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 16:15         MDT    9.15            5410

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 16:30         MDT    9.18            5450

USGS    06752260        2010-06-12 16:45         MDT    9.04            5230

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/data/img/USGS.06752260.04.00060..20100605.20100612.log.0.p50.gif

The height maxed out at 9.27 feet

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/data/img/USGS.06752260.02.00065..20100605.20100612..0.p50.gif

I took some video of it on Tuesday when it was at 4,000 cfs.

The flood was the result of a long, cold, snowy winter/spring – followed by a week of hot weather – followed by 48 hours of heavy rain and snow in the mountains. More heavy rain is forecast over the next 24 hours.

Since the start of the water year (Oct. 1) Colorado has been very cold.

http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/products/maps/acis/hprcc/WaterTDeptHPRCC.png

Two weeks ago, The Huffington Post reported :

Global Warming Study Predicts Hotter, Drier Summers In Colorado

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a summer last year. It was cold and rained all summer long. This weekend’s high temperature has been 51F.

http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/products/maps/acis/hprcc/JJA09TDeptHPRCC.png

———————————————————————————————————————-

“Some people just don’t know when to quit”

Correction: The title of the article is incorrect. After writing the original text, I found out that yesterday’s peak stream flow was exceeded on June 21, 1983 and April 30, 1999. The correction made it into the body of the text before publication but unfortunately did not make it in to the title.

It has been pouring rain all night and it may exceed the June 21, 1983 record, but will probably not beat the April 30, 1999 mark – which was 10.46 ft, and 7,710 cfs

[and title now corrected ~ ctm]

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61 thoughts on “Poudre River Sets A Record

  1. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a summer last year. It was cold and rained all summer long. This weekend’s high temperature has been 51F.
    Ah, but you are talking about weather, while they are talking about climate. Have you not seen that we just had the hottest May ever?
    Whereas, talking about climate in Attica, Greece, this is a hot five days for June. We are supposed to hit 39C on Thursday. The 36C of today has not materialized yet, at 3:30pm, stuck at 31C, but that is climate for you. After all climate is a greek word 🙂 .

  2. Correction: The title of the article is incorrect. After writing the original text, I found out that yesterday’s peak stream flow was exceeded on June 21, 1983 and April 30, 1999. The correction made it into the body of the text before publication but unfortunately did not make it in to the title.
    It has been pouring rain all night and it may exceed the June 21, 1983 record, but will probably not beat the April 30, 1999 mark – which was 10.46 ft, and 7,710 cfs

  3. Thanks for the view of the Cache Le Poudre – I lived in Fort Collins in the 1980’s and loved every minute of it.
    North of you, in Alberta, it has been a cold, snowy, and wet ‘Spring’ too, at least since May. Before that the Winter was a mix of a very cold December (mostly still technically Fall) and not so bad El Nino remainder. But then we had one of our coldest May’s on record, even with a a couple of hot days early on. Best thing about this Spring – even when we had a couple of nice weeks in April and a hot day or two in early May, the media didn’t harp about Global Warming, just thanked God for nice weather. Yesterday was the first really warm day and another ‘hot’ (may get to 80 F) day is predicted for today. Perhaps I will finally have something other than spring bulbs blooming in the garden and the peas and beans will get taller than 6 inches. Not much hope for a bumper crop of tomatoes, though.

  4. All the dirty snow is soaking up the rays and melting fast. All the plants are about three weeks late here in western Colorado. Neither lilac blossoms nor apple blossoms this year. 22°F in the third week of May, and with many 20’s up till then, they didn’t even try to blossom, ie. no frost bitten buds, there were no buds at all. About a third of the oaks are still considering putting out leaves, the may end up fire fodder.
    The Cashe de la Poudre River is a beautiful area, lived 9 miles past Ted’s place when I first came to Colorado. Fine camping and hiking. I found the only crystalline quartz arrow head I’ve ever seen up on a logging trail about 20 miles up the canyon.

  5. The Colorado River was at flood stage for the past two days. I got over 1″ of rain yesterday, and other drainages received more. More rain on the way today, should help Lake Powell.

  6. This Greenie Co-worker I know said last April-“Oh this winter’s just a start of the long dry spell that we are all in for due to Global Warming. -So sayeth the Profit.” Then, after this, cold wet, spring -NE Oregon- think a bit of the Eastern slope of the Rockie dropped into Oregon,”The Profit says, We know not wither or whether the is warm or cold or not.
    ,-due tot he warm being cold and the cold being warm!” “Cold is part of the Warming even snow!” So now that my Roses are up to three weeks late and it finally dries out for a while- as soon as it hits 90f… “Praise the Profit! it’s Warm!”
    Demise of a cult is an unpleasant thing…

  7. Your river looks like the Wallowa, Lostine, and Minam Rivers. All three flooded along with the various creeks that feed into them, tearing out entire sections of roads and bringing boulders onto other parts of the roadways. All three rivers flow into the Grande Ronde which then feeds into the Snake. That’s a lot of water and we still have snow waiting to melt.
    However, on the bright side, no one was hurt in Wallowa County and new fishing holes were created. Now that’s my kind of flooding.

  8. Exactly-Pamela, the Grande Ronde, at Troy too. Got a good Steelheading buddy that can’t wait to get down there- as it drops….
    Btw- note to my self-Do not rely on the spell checker alone, before
    the first cup of coffee….

  9. I went skiing in the back country on Red Lakes Peak near Carson Pass in California on Friday. Lots of snow and lots of ice still on the lake at 8500 feet. This years melt season will drag on for a long time. The snow/ice surface was wonderful. It felt like snow in a ski area. Its better than we thought.

  10. The last time I drove past the Jordan Lake Reservoir in central North Carolina the water was a couple of feet up the trunks of 6″ plus trees and the Cape Fear River was definitely “up” but not flooded.
    We FINALLY got the first cutting of fescue hay in last week – about three weeks or more late. The weather has been really weird lately with the winds and storms sometimes coming from the east instead of the west.

  11. Now that’s a flood flow. In general there hasn’t been much change in flood flows in the US, except for certain rivers that have been highly influenced by human development. So my question is: has this river had any kind of development that might make it’s behavior not reflective of local climate conditions?

  12. Joe Romm on Climate Progress said the droughts would be permanent. Permanent?
    So this rain and snow melt is not what it looks like.
    When people say something that is not true, they have to create cover. Now they say unusual weather events also. Nothing unusual here. There have been floods in the mountains before.

  13. timetochooseagain
    There is quite a bit of diversion into canals, but no dams upstream. The flow is about 10X normal for the date, and the rain is starting to come down very hard again.

  14. Mid June and we have heavy snow falls in southern Wyoming? I’ve backpacked with my wife over much of it and would never have thought to bring snow shoes this time of the year.
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/view/prodsByState.php?state=WY&prodtype=warnings
    000
    WWUS45 KRIW 130822
    WSWRIW
    URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RIVERTON WY
    222 AM MDT SUN JUN 13 2010
    …MAJOR LATE SPRING SNOWSTORM WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE EAST
    SLOPES OF THE WIND RIVER MOUNTAINS…THE GREEN AND RATTLESNAKE
    MOUNTAINS AND CASPER MOUNTAIN THROUGH NOON TODAY…
    .A VERY STRONG LATE SEASON STORM WILL MOVE ACROSS SOUTHERN WYOMING
    TODAY. MOISTURE CIRCULATING AROUND LOW PRESSURE TO THE SOUTH WILL
    PRODUCE LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW IN THE EAST SLOPES OF THE WIND RIVER
    MOUNTAINS…THE GREEN AND RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAINS AND CASPER MOUNTAIN
    THROUGH AROUND NOON TODAY. SNOW LEVELS WILL BE AROUND 7000 FEET THIS
    MORNING THROUGH NOON TODAY.
    WYZ015-131800-
    /O.CON.KRIW.WS.W.0011.000000T0000Z-100613T1800Z/
    WIND RIVER MOUNTAINS EAST-
    222 AM MDT SUN JUN 13 2010
    …WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON MDT TODAY…
    A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON MDT TODAY.
    * SUMMARY AND TIMING…HEAVY SNOW ACCUMULATED DOWN TO AROUND 7000
    FEET YESTERDAY…AND 10 TO 15 INCHES HAS FALLEN ABOVE 7500 FEET.
    LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH AROUND NOON TODAY.
    ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 3 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ABOVE
    7000 FEET AND AN ADDITIONAL 3 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED
    ABOVE 8000 FEET.
    * SNOW ACCUMULATIONS…TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATION OF BETWEEN 18 AND
    30 INCHES IS EXPECTED ABOVE 8000 FEET WITH 10 TO 15 INCHES ABOVE
    7000 FEET.
    * WIND AND VISIBILITY…EAST TO NORTHEAST WINDS OF 10 TO 20 MPH
    ARE EXPECTED THIS MORNING. VISIBILITIES WILL BE REDUCED TO LESS
    THAN ONE MILE IN SNOW THIS MORNING.
    * IMPACTS…TRAVEL OVER SOUTH PASS MAY BE HAZARDOUS THIS MORNING
    DUE TO REDUCED VISIBILITY AND SLICK ROADS.
    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…
    A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
    CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF
    SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN
    AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…
    FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

  15. I’ve been wondering recently; since a warmer atmosphere has a greater water vapor capacity than a cooler atmosphere, wouldn’t a global rise in temperature lead to _more_ snow and rain rather than less? And could this be an additional feedback (negative) due to the possible wider winter snow cover?

  16. Henry chance says:
    June 13, 2010 at 9:49 am
    If the rains do not stay the same, then we will either have drought or floods in the future according to the warm-earthers.
    anna v says:
    June 13, 2010 at 5:36 am
    Anna, how many years of weather do we need to see to figure that it is climate? 6, 12, 18, 24? It has gotten colder globally from the 1998 maximum till now, that is 12 years.
    So 18 years will be the new calculus?

  17. You want to laugh at how inconsistent and shaky climate science is?
    A year ago:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8011497.stm
    “From the Yellow river in northern China to the Ganges in India to the Colorado river in the United States – the US scientists say that the major sources of fresh water for much of the world’s population are in decline.”
    Today:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10288943.stm
    “In the Yellow River, climate change may even yield a positive benefit as the dependence on meltwater is low and a projected increased upstream precipitation, when retained in reservoirs, would enhance water availability for irrigated agriculture and food security.”
    So one year the Yellow River is shrinking and the next year they say upstream precipitation would increase the river.
    It’s still completely ridiculous that these modern prophets think they can look into the future. So far all their predictions have failed harder than Nostradamus.

  18. bubbagyro says:
    June 13, 2010 at 10:14 am
    I thought the sarcasm was clear: we in Greece are hot so it is climate, you are cold so it is weather.
    Btw 30 years was decided to be a good averaging time for climate, long before the AGW stunt. I think it was a meteorological meeting sometime ago.

  19. Scott, your guess is correct. More total precipitation, more concentrated into “extreme precipitation events” is expected. There may be *some* places that get drier, but that will be based on regional topography and will be the exception to the overall trend. A statistical trend towards more extreme precipitation events has been documented.

  20. GFW says: June 13, 2010 at 11:48 am
    “A statistical trend towards more extreme precipitation events has been documented.”
    Prove it.

  21. Scott, you aren’t wrong. The problem is, that for many years the Warmers told us, and still do, that a warmer planet will be droughts for everyone. The Skeptics have always tried to say that a warmer planet will be good, because it will increase rainfall. Of course, til the recent winter, they told us we were crazy saying such a thing.

  22. What does increased rainfall do to the rate of heat transfer to the upper troposphere? (if that’s the right word).
    I guess it should push heat up due latent heat of condensation and /or freezing: any ideas as to whether this would increase heat loss to space, ultimately, and so be a negative feedback?
    Not sure where to start looking for info on this. may be a trivial issue, but some storms are quite big (British euphemism for huge)

  23. GFW says:
    June 13, 2010 at 11:48 am
    A statistical trend towards more extreme precipitation events has been documented.

    And my overwhelming abilities as a Love God have been documented too.
    Oh wow! They’ve just been documented again! Just a paragraph ago!
    Isn’t that amazing?! [/sarc off]

  24. Keith at hastings UK says:
    June 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    What does increased rainfall do to the rate of heat transfer to the upper troposphere? (if that’s the right word).
    I guess it should push heat up due latent heat of condensation and /or freezing: any ideas as to whether this would increase heat loss to space, ultimately, and so be a negative feedback?
    Not sure where to start looking for info on this. may be a trivial issue, but some storms are quite big (British euphemism for huge)

    There is an IR picture of one of the hurricanes leaving a giant cool streak in the middle of the Atlantic – but I can’t seem to find it at the moment.

  25. stevengoddard says:
    June 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    MikeC
    I had birthdays in all three of those years. What else did they have in common?

    el nino giving way to la nina?

  26. Here in NW Calif., the Transylvania Alps weather is finally gone, replaced by mid 80’s to 90 degrees. Still in the low 40’s at night. A cooldown is in the forecast. The mulberry trees are usually out in mid April. Just started to bloom this week.
    Wheat, oats and barley 6′ high. Anise 12′ tall and still shooting up.
    Overall weather pattern for this year resembles 1998.

  27. rbateman says:
    June 13, 2010 at 4:52 pm
    ‘Wheat, oats and barley 6′ high. Anise 12′ tall and still shooting up.
    Overall weather pattern for this year resembles 1998.’
    Boy, you got big ole plants in NW CA -what height does that anise stop at?

  28. We are still hoping Oregon wheat will recover from rust. It is expected that state wide, we could see a 20% reduction in yield with as much as 50% in some harder hit areas. Too much rain, too humid and cool to allow crops to dry out between downpours.

  29. Prairie Crops Drowning
    Lauren Davis
    Saturday, June 12, 2010
    Wet weather will put a significant damper on Canadian grain crops.
    Fields are so soggy, it’s estimated that 3 to 5 million hectares could go unseeded in Western Canada.
    Saskatchewan has been the hardest-hit province thus far.
    Greg Marshall of the Agricultural Producers Association says muddy conditions like the ones being seen in the prairies are abnormal.
    He predicts wheat crops could produce their lowest yields in almost 40 years.
    http://www.cfra.com/?cat=3&nid=73739
    or here also:
    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/todays-paper/spring+holds+seeding+year/3146289/story.html

  30. I live in Breckenridge, CO, and since 2005 I’ve skied so much deeeeep powder, so often, every season, that I’ve lost track of all those glorious powder days. If that’s a result of global warming, then bring on the warming! Furthermore, each of the five summers I’ve spent in Breck have been cool and wet. No drought. Plenty of water. The surrounding forests where I mt. bike regularly are moist and actually lush in many areas. Last October A-Basin ski area had its earliest opening ever and Loveland ski area had its second earliest opening ever. More evidence of global warming? In 2008 I skied waist deep powder in May, and in 2010 I again skied waist deep in May-The heat is making it snow in May! Colorado ski areas are not seeing shorter seasons, lack of snow, rising snow-levels or any of the other dire predictions made by the climate alarmists. In fact, ski seasons are still six months long, snowfall hasn’t diminished, and temperatures are frigid during winter, and cool during the in-between winter months. I know, I live in it.

  31. hunter says: June 14, 2010 at 5:39 am
    Any stats on the larger Colorado river basin watershed?

    Today these three stations are all above the 90th percentile, and all are within 25 miles of one another, Glenwood Springs being furthest downstream:
    Gypsum, CO : 3,270CFS Dotsero, CO : 10,800CFS Glenwood Springs : 14,600CFS
    I think they removed the flood warning yeserday, 6/13. I Drove from Glenwood to Denver and back yesterday and saw the Colorado out of its banks in the Glenwood Canyon, the bike trail was closed due to water from the river being on it.
    Real time watershed flows in Colorado here:
    http://co.water.usgs.gov/

  32. I was watching the local news (www.9news.com) late last week (Thursday’ish) in the middle of the heat and one of the news anchors (not the weather person) stated with the heat, all the snow which is normally around until the fourth of July would be gone three to four weeks early. The problem with his statement is, we are already three weeks out from 7/4 and there is still snow. As a matter of fact, our mountains above 9500 feet had snow.
    The snow might completely melt just before the fourth of July, but there is no way it is going to be gone this week, much less last week…

  33. Down in the Texas Panhandle, we’re probably going to have trouble harvesting the wheat after the recent heavy rains. That is, what did not get threshed by 5″ hailstones. Our wildflowers also bloomed two to three weeks later than usual, with a mid-April weather pattern in mid June.

  34. Breckite says:
    June 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm
    I live in Breckenridge, CO, and since 2005 I’ve skied so much deeeeep powder, so often, every season, that I’ve lost track of all those glorious powder days. If that’s a result of global warming, then bring on the warming! Furthermore, each of the five summers I’ve spent in Breck have been cool and wet. No drought. Plenty of water. The surrounding forests where I mt. bike regularly are moist and actually lush in many areas. Last October A-Basin ski area had its earliest opening ever and Loveland ski area had its second earliest opening ever. More evidence of global warming? In 2008 I skied waist deep powder in May, and in 2010 I again skied waist deep in May-The heat is making it snow in May! Colorado ski areas are not seeing shorter seasons, lack of snow, rising snow-levels or any of the other dire predictions made by the climate alarmists. In fact, ski seasons are still six months long, snowfall hasn’t diminished, and temperatures are frigid during winter, and cool during the in-between winter months. I know, I live in it.
    GeoFlynx –
    Wow! There is apparently another Breckenridge Colorado! The one here in the U.S.A. is somewhat different than the one you describe. Gone are the big snowfalls, the “frigid” winter temperatures (check your wax color next time out), and most of our evergreen (now everbrown) forest. Present are increased snowmaking, loads of pine beetles (normally controlled by late December cold snaps we haven’t been having), and a fear that the dead forest will explode in the summer as well as being responsible for an increase in winter runoff (see above). Vail resorts CEO Robert Katz sees global climate change as one of the greatest threats to Colorado’s ski industry and has sought to mitigate the Ski area’s use of fossil derived energy with wind power. Yes, we must be talking about a different Breckenridge altogether!

  35. GeoFlynx
    Thank you so much for your concern about our water supply.
    But, given the fact that we have received almost our normal annual precipitation in just the last three months, coming on the heels of one of the wettest years ever – I think I will take a pass on crying on your shoulder.
    http://ccc.atmos.colostate.edu/~autowx/fclwx_plotsearch.php?graph=7&span=90&station=FCLWX&year=2010&month=06&day=14&dimensions=2
    Hopefully no more people will drown in the near record floods (known as perpetual drought in AGW circles.)

  36. GeoFlynx
    BTW – Summer snowpack makes up a tiny percentage of the summer water supply. Colorado doesn’t normally have much snow in the summer. That is why we have reservoirs. They hold the massive amount of water which melts and runs off in the spring.

  37. GeoFlynx –Wow! There is apparently another Breckenridge Colorado! Present are increased snowmaking, loads of pine beetles (normally controlled by late December cold snaps we haven’t been having),
    Working outdoors in early December was one of the coldest I have seen in Colorado in 40 years, with many -10° to -15° F mornings. It takes -35° to affect the beetles, and more than an incident at or below that temperature, meaning the cold is not what controls them historically in Colorado (assuming they have ever been controlled). It also didn’t snow much until mid-month or so, in spite of the cold, so snowmaking is not an indication of warmth either.

  38. You must be on vacation to leave this unposted so long.
    GeoFlynx says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    June 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm
    Statewide Colorado’s snowpack is down to 26% of average.
    ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/co_update_snow.pdf
    The flooding along the Poudre River may prove cruelly deceptive in the long run . Let’s hope for all Colorado that we have a wetter than normal summer to offset this diminished resource regardless of our perspective on AGW.

  39. Sorry Steve, you did post my comment. The problem must be at my end.
    I agree that we need more reservoirs in Colorado to hold back the winter runoff. It is precisely the corresponding natural reservoir, the snowpack, and its water retention that have us overbearing alarmo-warmists so concerned. The combination of beetle killed forests and diminished snowpack negatively impacts water retention. While the magnitude of these changes are still unknown and currently being researched, the 2002 Hayman fire has many Coloradoans biting their nails through the summer. The condition of our forest today compared to 2002, with the addition of so many standing dead trees, causes us all to watch the weather and perhaps even, if we may, speculate on climate change.

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