Rivers are still running high, but trails have reopened in Farmington
Spring snowmelt, releases from Navajo Dam have created potentially dangerous conditions near two local rivers. Hannah Grover, firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGTON — River levels have reduced following a spike in flow earlier this week.
The reduced flows in the Animas River allowed the City of Farmington to reopen the trails on the northside of the river.
The trails closed June 30 for the second time this year in response to rising water washing over the path. Farmington spokesperson Georgette Allen said the trails reopened on July 3.
The Animas River was flowing at 4,580 cubic feet per second on the morning of July 5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s stream gauge located near Cedar Hill. This is still faster than the average flow for July 5 — 1,610 cubic feet per second — but it is less water than earlier in the week when the river was flowing faster than 6,000 cubic feet per second.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increases release from Navajo Dam
The Animas River is not the only river that has increased flow.
Runoff from snowmelt in Colorado has created above average flows in the Piedra, Los Pinos and San Juan rivers. Those three rivers come together at Navajo Lake.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has had to increase the amount of water it is releasing from the dam to balance the flows into the lake.
In the first few days of July, the Bureau of Reclamation increased the amount of water it is releasing from 610 cubic feet per second on July 1 to 816 cubic feet per second on July 4.
Communities along the Animas River impacted by high flows
The spike in flows on June 30 impacted communities along the Animas River both in New Mexico and Colorado.
The Silverton Standard & the Miner's Facebook page reported campers were stranded when the San Juan County (Colorado) Office of Emergency Management closed County Road 2 near the Eureka Campground on June 30. The office of emergency management issued a press release on June 30 explaining that avalanche debris rerouted the Animas River toward the road, leading to the road closure.
The road has since been reopened with detours around flooded areas, the Silverton Standard & the Miner reported on its Facebook page.
Monsoon season could bring additional moisture
While the rivers are still being impacted by runoff from the winter snow, monsoon season has also begun.
Chuck Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the monsoon season goes from mid-June to the end of September.
So far, the monsoon season has brought some moisture, but not very steady storms, Jones said. He said there could be some storms coming into northwest New Mexico over the weekend.
The National Weather Service predicts this monsoon season will bring normal amounts of moisture, or even slightly more moisture than normal.
The monsoon storms are often characterized by short periods of heavy rain that can lead to flash floods.
Jones encouraged people to pay attention to advisories and warnings that the National Weather Service releases.
He said people should not try to drive through flooded areas and should find higher ground if they are in an area prone to flooding.
"Six inches of water could take away a car," Jones said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e