St. Louis Creek flash flood sets new flow record in Fraser
Ryan Summerlin July 7, 2011
FRASER – St. Louis Creek was running down the streets of Fraser on Wednesday after a heavy downpour Tuesday night, July 6, that pushed the usually little waterway out of its banks.
Wednesday’s streamflow set a new record for the date, with 353 cubic feet per second coursing past the gauge. The record of 278 cfs was set in 1957.
The creek had peaked July 2 and was on its way back down, July 5, with the gauge measuring the stream at 2.6 feet. But overnight it rose to more than 3 feet with the rain.
The all-time maximum flow was measured at 499 cfs in 1996, according to U.S. Geological Survey streamflow records.
Average streamflow for this time of year is about 83 cfs.
The current flooding issues are all about Mother Nature, according to Town Manager Jeff Durbin. Storm drains are clear but it’s just been a record-breaking type of year with the huge snowpack and late runoff, now compounded by the summer monsoons that tend to strike in the afternoon.
The creek has been running down Fraser’s gutters for a couple of weeks, and residents are getting creative.
At least one person is pumping water out of the gutter and into his lawn to water the grass. Another is reported to have created a little diversion for the same purpose.
On Wednesday night, the water coming down Byers Avenue was creating whitewater waves as it ran across the dips in the road at the intersection of Leonard Lane.
Town board members also mentioned that County Road 731, which leads to the rodeo, is so washed out in one place as to make even the most skilled driver hesitate.
“I thought for a minute I was going to float away,” said town board member Scotty Brent, recounting his recent attempt to drive through the washout.
The county is supposed to be fixing the road and adding new storm drains, but not in time for the rodeo this weekend
The town board asked staff to look into designating alternate routes for rodeo-goers.