Flood Awareness and Preparation

Old Flood Picture

The experts say there is a 100% chance of some flooding in Walsenburg due to the Spring Fire burn scar. There is also a significant probability of a major flooding event occuring in any given year for the next 6 years. The only question is when it is going to happen and how severe this potentially life-threatening event will be.

Over 400 homes and properties may be subject to emergency evacuation and when flooding occurs in La Veta, the residents of Walsenburg could have a mere 2 1/2 hours advance notice. It is essential to

PREPARE NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

What can you do to get ready for this dangerous situation?

  • Sign up for Code Red by calling 719-738-1044 to receive emergency alerts.
  • Make an evacuation plan and gather essentials so you are ready to move at a moment's notice.
  • Listen for the warning siren. Be alert to your surroundings and don't take chances with your life. Become “Flood Buddies” and look out for your neighbors.
  • If you are able, install a backflow device to prevent sewage from backing up into your home from pressure in the City Sewer system.
  • If you receive an evacuation notice lock your home and move rapidly to higher ground.
  • Be prepared to be away from your home for up to two weeks.

What should you expect?

  • A major flooding event could happen as early as May 1st so time is short to get ready.
  • The fire caused damage producing hydrophobic soils and reduced percolation so we can expect up to 15 times the normal flow rate in the Cuchara Basin over the next six years and it could take up to twenty years before the soil is healed.
  • In the best-case scenario only the property adjacent to the river will be flooded but in a worst-case scenario flooding could extend to the Holita ditch affecting all of downtown Walsenburg.
  • If the storm sewers become flooded forced pressure could cause flooding in unexpected areas.
  • Even if you are not in the affected area utilities could be disrupted and it could take weeks or even months before gas, water, and sewer are restored.

What is being done now?

  • Channel Restoration is already underway thanks to Americorps volunteers.
  • Efforts are currently focused in the La Veta area and just west of Bear Creek in hopes of establishing floodplain storage between La Veta and Walsenburg to reduce the peak flow before it reaches the city.
  • Once this phase is accomplished and permission is granted by property owners the volunteers will proceed clearing the channel through Walsenburg.
  • City Hall may be flooded so preparations are being made for a command center to ensure continuity of service. Preparations are also being made for an emergency evacuation center since the community center is in the flood zone.
  • All residents are being encouraged to be proactive about removing any debris from their property to reduce the risk to others downstream.
  • Community meetings and outreach efforts are being planned to keep the public informed.

Online Resources

Sign up for CodeRed
Download the NOAA Weather app.
Huerfano Emergency Dispatch on Facebook
One Huerfano on Facebook.
www.fire.huerfano.us
www.ready.gov