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Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week in Review

Saturday, March 18th, 2017 6:00am MDT
Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week, March 15 – 21, 2015.

Floods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  The first of these messages is below.  Check back each day this week for further topics.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
600 AM MDT SAT MARCH 18 2017

…COLORADO FLOOD SAFETY AND WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN REVIEW…

Colorado has more than its fair share of floods, flash floods, and wildfires. During the past week, in our effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation, we have presented information to you on how to stay safe and minimize property damage during flood and wildfire threats.

When a flash flood warning is issued for your area, you need to quickly move to higher ground out of drainages or other low spots. It may be just a short run or climb to that higher ground.

Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities occur in vehicles. Do not drive through a flooded roadway. Instead turn around…do not drown. The water may be much deeper than you think, because it may not be possible to see below the surface of flood waters that the roadway has been washed away. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles. Additional flood safety information can be found at www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Areas burned by wildfires are highly susceptible to flash floods, especially within the first two or three years after the wildfire has occurred. Wildfires by themselves destroy much property and occasionally result in fatalities within Colorado. There are actions you can take to protect yourself and minimize the wildfire threat to your property.

If you live near or within a forest or rangeland, you are encouraged to make a defensible space around your home and other structures. Information on how to make a defensible space around your home can be found on the Colorado State Forest Service website at http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/defensible-space.html

River flooding from snowmelt or persistent rainfall can cause extensive damage to property. There are estimated to be 65 thousand homes and 15 thousand commercial, industrial, and business structures in identified floodplains within Colorado. FEMA has online maps that show if you are in a flood risk area. To access those maps, go to https://msc.fema.gov

If you live in a flood prone area, buying flood insurance is the best thing you can do to protect your home, your business, your family and your financial security. To find an insurance agent and obtain other flood insurance information, go to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program web site at www.floodsmart.gov

As a reminder, there is generally a 30-day waiting period from the time a flood insurance policy is purchased to when it goes into effect.

Additional information on floods and wildfires is available from your local National Weather Service web sites…

http://www.weather.gov/denver NWS Denver/Boulder web site
http://www.weather.gov/pueblo NWS Pueblo web site
http://www.weather.gov/goodland NWS Goodland web site
http://www.weather.gov/gjt NWS Grand Junction web site

JIM PRINGLE
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
WFO GRAND JUNCTION CO

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Wildfire Safety and Mitigation – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Friday, March 17th, 2017 5:06am MDT

WildfiresFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
600 AM MDT FRI MARCH 17 2017

…WILDFIRE SAFETY AND MITIGATION…

During this Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week we have discussed floods, flash floods, and how to stay safe when flooding threatens. We also told you that areas burned by wildfires are highly susceptible to flash floods within the first two or three years after the wildfire.

Today we will provide you with information about wildfire safety and mitigation that could save your life and minimize destruction to your personal property.

Colorado experienced some very devastating wildfires in 2013, including the Black Forest Fire, the Royal Gorge Wildfire, and the West Fork Complex which burned over a hundred thousand acres of forest. Two people were killed and over five hundred houses and other buildings were destroyed from the Black Forest Wildfire.

All wildfires need fuel to burn, typically in the form of dry vegetation, as often occurs in forests, grasslands, and cured wheat fields. Tragically, some wildfires also kill people and destroy homes, vehicles, and other personal property. If you live near or within a forest, grassland, or wheat field, there are some actions you can take to minimize your vulnerability to wildfires.

If you are a homeowner, the first defense against wildfires is to create and maintain a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. Creating wildfire-defensible zones also reduces the chance of a structure fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding forest. Defensible space also provides room for firefighters to do their jobs when fighting a wildfire.

More information on how to make a defensible space around your home can be found on the Colorado State Forest Service website at http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/defensible-space.html

During periods of extreme fire danger in forests and rangelands…

…you should avoid being in areas where you might become trapped by a wildfire.

…you should avoid the use of matches or anything else which could ignite a fire.

…make sure that hot parts of motorized equipment, such as mufflers, are not allowed to come in contact with dry grasses or other potentially flammable material.

If you become trapped or cut off by a wildfire, seek shelter in areas with little or no fuel, such as rock slide areas or lakes.

For more information on wildfires and fire safety, please check out the following web addresses…

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/fire/
http://csfs.colostate.edu/
http://www.ready.gov/wildfires
http://www.nifc.gov

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday.

JIM PRINGLE
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
WFO GRAND JUNCTION CO

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton to enjoy spring-like weekend, near record-setting warmth

Friday, March 17th, 2017 5:00am MDT

Get ready for that spring fever to set in as if you don’t have it already, this weekend’s weather will likely prompt a bout of it. Well above normal temperatures start things off on St. Patrick’s Day to be followed by two days of potentially record-setting warmth.

For Friday, overall conditions look to be calm and dry. We will have partly sunny skies above as we head toward a high in the low 70s. Tonight skies will clear and the mercury will dip to around 40 degrees.

Saturday looks to be the nicest day of the three-day period. We will have lots of sun above and conditions will be calm, winds light. Highs tomorrow will push toward around 81 degrees. The record high for the date is 82 degrees so it will be close. Temperatures Saturday night into Sunday morning will drop to the mid-40s.

Sunday looks to remain warm but we will introduce some wind into the weather. Mostly sunny skies will be above most of the day with breezy conditions beginning mid-morning. Highs on the last day of the weekend will be in the low 80s. The record high for the date is 81 degrees and may very well fall.

Have a great weekend!

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Wildfire Awareness – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 6:07am MDT

WildfiresFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT THU MARCH 16 2017

…Wildfire in Colorado…where do you get your information…

A mixture of large and small wildfires occurred across Colorado in 2016. These fires were due to a mixture of dry conditions, combined with gusty, warm winds and, sometimes, careless fire prevention efforts. There were instances when residents had to be evacuated as a large wildfire moved toward larger communities. Would you know what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones in this situation? In addition, if you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfires, how can you prepare yourself and your home?

To assist in your preparation for fire…the National Weather Service provides a variety of fire weather forecast products. Twice a day in Colorado…fire weather planning forecasts are made from each weather service office serving the state.

A Fire Weather Watch may be issued if in the next 12 to 48 hours the forecast includes gusty winds of 25 mph or greater…relative humidities of less than 15 percent for at least three hours, dry lightning, or a combination of weather and fuel conditions that may make large wildfires possible.

A Red Flag Warning will be issued if these same critical fire conditions are forecast within the next 24 hours. Both Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings are issued in coordination with land management agencies.

The fire weather spot program supports land management agencies for both prescribed burns and for wildfires. A fire weather spot forecast is a detailed forecast for an individual fire. For national type 2 or type 1 fires the National Weather Service will detail an IMET…incident meteorologist to a fire team to provide onsite weather support and detailed fire forecasts.

If you live in the urban interface there are a number of actions you can take to reduce your personal fire threat including reducing vegetation near the home and putting a fire resistant roof on your home. More information is available from your National Weather Service at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/fire or from your Department of Homeland Security at: http://www.ready.gov/wildfires.

When a fire occurs, there may be years of increased flood threat on the burn scar, as a healthy forest can handle an inch to inch and a half of rain with no flood risk. Once the litter and vegetation is removed by fire…as little as a half inch of rain in a short period can cause serious and possibly life threatening flooding.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton’s Thursday to be warm and breezy, fire danger high

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 6:06am MDT

An oft-repeated forecast today that sounds much like many in recent weeks. Temperatures will be well above normal but we will have a good dose of wind leading to high fire danger.

The day starts out with mostly clear skies and we will see similar cloud coverage throughout the day. Temperatures start a tad chilly but then will warm quickly as we head toward a high around 77 degrees – well above the average of 55 degrees to today’s date.

Winds will be calm initially then begin picking up speed by late morning. Gusts to 30mph or high will be possible in the afternoon and evening. Those winds coupled with the low humidity and dry fuels on the ground have prompted a Red Flag Warning to be issued and in effect from 11:00am to 7:00pm. Any fires that get started could grow quickly so please be careful.

Keep an eye on current conditions here.

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Flash Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 6:04am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT WED MARCH 15 2017

Today’s topic during this Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness week is flash floods.

Flash floods are no strangers to Colorado. Since the year 1900, nearly 300 people have been killed in flash floods across the Centennial state.

In terms of lives lost, the worst flash flood occurred on July 31, 1976 in the Big Thompson Canyon between Estes Park and Loveland. A nearly stationary storm produced around 12 inches of rain in 4 hours, claiming 144 lives.

Three other notable flash floods in Colorado were:

In 1904, just north of Pueblo, a bridge failed and around 100 people drowned when a passenger train plunged into Fountain Creek.

The 1997 Fort Collins episode drowned 5 people and caused 200 million dollars of property damage.

In 2013, 9 people drowned during the historic September rain episode, which was a combination of flash floods and river floods. These floods were much more extensive than the Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976, but because of timely and accurate warnings, many people stayed out of harms way and lives were saved.

A flash flood is defined as a rapid rise in water levels, generally occurring in less than 6 hours, along large creeks, normally dry washes, arroyos, or over normally dry land areas, and can occur with little advanced notice.

Flash floods frequently result from high rainfall rates, and infrequently result from dam failures, levee failures, or sudden breaks in river ice jams. Flash floods are very destructive, due to the force of the moving water, and the accompanying debris. This tremendous force can easily damage or destroy roadways, bridges, and buildings.

In recent years, Colorado has seen major flooding and damage when heavy rains have occurred on wildfire burn scar areas. If you are in or near a burn scar area, you need to plan ahead. Be aware of general flash flood plans and procedures that have been developed and implemented by your local emergency management officials. You should know your flash flood risks, and make your plans to save your life and those around you.

The National Weather Service forecast offices will discuss flash flood potential in daily hazardous weather outlooks, and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites.

During days when flash flooding is possible a Flash Flood Watch will be issued.

During days when flash flooding is likely or occurring, a Flash Flood Warning will be issued.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, you need to act quickly if you are in a drainage area or in other low spots. Know your escape routes to higher ground and act as quickly as possible. It may be just a short walk or climb to that higher ground.

Many flash flood deaths occur in vehicles. Do not drive through a flooded roadway. The water may be much deeper than you think, because the roadway may be damaged or washed away. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles. Instead turn around, do not drown.

 

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorlogist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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A very spring-like Wednesday for Thornton

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 6:03am MDT

It doesn’t get a whole lot nicer than the weather we have on tap for you today. Temperatures are going to be well above normal with lots of sun.

We start out the day with clear skies and other than an occasional high cloud, you can expect sunny skies throughout. Temperatures will be warming up quickly as we head toward a high in the mid-70s, about 20 degrees above normal. Winds will be light for most of the day, perhaps a bit breezy in the mid to late afternoon but not too bad.

Enjoy!

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Long Time Frame Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 5:17am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT TUESDAY MARCH 14 2017

Today’s topic during Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week is flooding which develops in the time frame of longer than 6 hours to several days.

Long duration floods in Colorado can result from snow melt…a combination of snow melt and heavy rain…or just heavy rain.

There have been some notable floods across the Centennial State…

In early June of 1921…a flood along the Arkansas River devastated the city of Pueblo. Estimates of drownings ranged from over 100 to over 300.

Around Memorial Day…1935…catastrophic flooding occurred on the Palmer Divide and the Colorado Springs area…causing millions of dollars of damage…and killing at least 18 people.

The mid-June 1965 flood was widespread across eastern Colorado…taking several lives…and causing over 500 million dollars of damage.

During late April and early May of 1999…after up to 14 inches of rain fell…a major flood occurred across southeast Colorado from Colorado Springs to La Junta.

In 2013, the historic rains and floods in September caused over 3 billion dollars of damage, and took 9 lives.

Just this last year during May, multiple days of heavy rain and snow caused flooding across many areas of eastern Colorado.

Floods in Colorado can result from rapid snow melt, ice jams, a combination of snow melt and heavy rain, or just heavy rain.

National Weather Service forecast offices in Colorado closely collaborate with regional river forecast centers that monitor the Colorado River…South Platte River…Arkansas River…and Rio Grande to come to a consensus on the likelihood of flooding along rivers and large creeks.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood potential in hydrologic outlooks…daily hazardous weather outlooks…and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites. Hydrologic statements may be issued for high flows that are within the banks of a river or large creek.

When flooding is possible on a river or large creek…a Flood Watch will be issued…meaning flooding is possible within the designated watch area.

When flooding is likely or occurring on a river or large creek…a Flood Warning will be issued…meaning flooding is expected or has been reported at designated river forecast points.

Flood Advisories may be issued for minor flooding on rivers and creeks.

An Areal Flood Warning may also be issued for flooding on a river or large creek in areas away from the designated river forecast points.

You can easily monitor potential flooding along rivers in Colorado and large creeks using the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service monitoring system. Information on this monitoring system can be obtained from this web site…

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/floodsafety/ahps.shtml

This monitoring system can be accessed on Colorado National Weather Service forecast office web sites from the left hand menu…by clicking…rivers and lakes under the hydrology banner.

At each river and large creek gauge…you can easily look at current and forecast water levels…flood categories…historic crests…and flood impacts. Probabilities of exceedance of certain water levels by week or over the long term are also available.

In general…there will be some time to prepare for river and large creek flooding…and emergency management in your area has plans in place to address flooding issues. Know these plans and how you should act accordingly when Flood Watches and Flood Warnings are in effect.

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Temperatures climb for Thornton’s Tuesday, conditions remain dry

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 5:15am MDT

I said last night on our Facebook page that I was going to start using a new weather acronym – PDBW – Pretty Dang Boring Weather. It seems fitting as overall conditions for weeks now have been the same: above normal temps, dry conditions.

That will continue today and through the rest of the week. Sigh. We start out with partly clear skies today and can expect much of the same as high clouds will provide some shade. Temperatures will be climbing to a high right near the 70-degree mark. Winds this morning will be calm and then become a bit breezy in the afternoon.

That is pretty much it and from the looks of it, we could pretty much copy and paste this same forecast across every day for the balance of the week.

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Types of Floods – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Monday, March 13th, 2017 5:20am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Check back each day for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT MON MARCH 13 2017

Flooding can be a major problem in Colorado as we experienced in September 2013. Heavy rain fell over a large area of the foothills south to the Pikes Peak Region, resulting in flash flooding. Much of the water that fell across northeast Colorado eventually ended up in the South Platte River, with major river flooding having occurred from Greeley to the state line.

River flooding can result from heavy rain during the summer and from rapid snow melt or thunderstorm rain combining with runoff from melting snow. Flash flooding refers to a dangerous sudden rise in water within an urban area, in a canyon, or along a creek or wash over normally dry land area. Flash floods result from heavy rainfall, sudden breaks in river ice jams, and dam or levee failures.

Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours, and can move at surprisingly high speeds, striking with little warning. Flash floods are quite destructive because of the force of the moving water, and the debris that accumulates in flood waters, such as trees and boulders, which can destroy roadways, bridges and buildings.

Another complication in Colorado is the serious flooding that can result when heavy rain falls on recently burned areas. Anyone living downstream from a recently burned area should be aware of the changed conditions, which result in much faster, turbulent, debris and ash clogged waters from the burned area.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood and flash flood potential in daily Hazardous Weather Outlooks and in the graphical weather story on National Weather Service websites. On days with a high threat for flooding, you may hear of a Flash Flood or Flood Watch, which means that flash flooding or flooding is possible within the watch area.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported along a river.

A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding has been reported or is imminent.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, act quickly. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Go to higher ground or climb to safety before access is cut off by flood waters. Go Up, Not Out. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. Do not enter a flooded roadway, instead Turn Around…Don’t Drown. In rapidly rising waters, backing up away from water would be safer. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles, and you also cannot tell if the road is damaged beneath the water.

More information on flooding hazards can be found on the National Weather Service Flood Safety page here.

 

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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