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Public safety

Rain, rising waters prompt steps to prevent flooding in Denver metro area

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Following weeks of heavy rain and more expected over the next few days, authorities are taking action to stem the risk of flooding in the Denver metro area.

Rising water levels have prompted the closure of Waterton Canyon in Douglas County "to public access until high flows in the South Platte River in the canyon subside," Denver Water announced in a news release the morning of June 11.

"The combination of ongoing rain and runoff have contributed to increased river flows," the release states.

"We were hopeful that the highest flows were past us, but Mother Nature had other plans," said Brandon Ransom, Denver Water's manager of recreation. "As soon as conditions are safe and the trail is ready for bikers and hikers again, we'll get the gates back open for recreationists to enjoy."

Meanwhile, releases from the Chatfield and Bear Creek dams are being reduced to mitigate flood risk, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release. Cherry Creek Dam's releases are not being modified.

West Metro Fire Rescue officials say they are preparing for the possibility of flooding.

"In and around the fire district, several creeks and rivers are running well above average, with Clear Creek at 200 percent of average, Bear Creek at 300 percent and the South Platte in Waterton Canyon at 400 percent," West Metro said in news release. "Flows are sure to rise even more in the next few days and weeks."

West Metro urges the public to take the following steps:

  • If you live in a low lying area, be prepared to move to higher ground.
  • Never cross a flowing stream where water reaches above your knees.
  • Never go around flooded roadway signs - the roads have been closed for your protection.
  • Avoid swelling, fast-moving rivers, even if you're using a flotation device
  • Even if the creek, stream or dry wash in your neighborhood looks normal, it can become a raging river within minutes in the event of heavy rains and thunderstorms.

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