Heavy Snow Packs this Winter bring Flood Concerns

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CASPER, WY - Warmer weather brings muddier conditions along the Platte River in Natrona County and officials have growing concerns of flooding this year.

EMS officials are happy to see warmer weather move in again however they are watching the snow runoff and hope it doesn’t melt too quickly.

"Due to the fact of upstream, Pathfinder and Seminoe reservoirs were down so far. There’s a lot of space, if you will, to fill up from that runoff that’s in the higher country and in southern Wyoming, northern
Colorado," said Natrona County EMA Coordinator Lt. Stewart K. Anderson.

Officials say they are more concerned if we see heavy spring showers with a quick rise in temperatures.

"Right now the slower the warm up, the slower the melt and the more of chance that moisture in that snow will be able to soak in," said Lt. Anderson.

Above-average snow packs this winter have Regional Water Board members keeping an eye on the surrounding counties.

"We have the ability to draw water out of Rock Creek. It’s clear up by Lander. One of the reports out of there was 240% average. At that point you go 'Wow that’s a lot of water up in those mountains,'" said Casper Mayor Paul Meyer.

Structural integrity around bridges is also a concern this year.

"I know different county road and bridge departments, WYDOT. They look at that when the stream and river flows get that high. That is one concern that they're looking at. That erosion and what effect on infrastructure that that the erosion will take," said Lt. Anderson.

The good news is, farmers will have plenty of water to begin irrigation on crops.

"We definitely will not see a call on water this year. I think the good folk in the southeast corner of the state will be able to use whatever water that comes through the Platte, because we can replace it with what will come into Pathfinder and Seminoe in the weeks to come,” said Meyer.

EMS officials say to check for flood insurance if you believe you may be in a high water area, but know that the insurance will not kick in for 30 days.

It's advised to help your community by making sure debris is free from drainage systems so flood waters can pass easily.