Sunday, May 31, 2015

Flood at Chatfield Reservoir in Littleton


The month of May has been an excessively rainy one for Colorado this year.  It rained almost every day, and the high Rockies had snow showers all month long. It is the result of an El Nino weather pattern from the Pacific Ocean, and it supposed to last most of the summer.  (All photos, and photo collages, in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


The good news is that the four year plus drought that Colorado experienced recently is over, the fire risk is low, and the rain has revitalized the forests and the grasses on the plains that had been affected by the drought, and has filled the reservoirs.


The bad news is the increased risk of flooding, if this weather continues longer. As you can see in the photo above, the Chatfield Reservoir is flooded, six to eight feet over its normal level.


The Chatfield Reservoir and dam sits inside Chatfield State Park--a beautiful expanse of open land surrounded by the foothills. There are many miles of hiking and bike trails, a boating marina, fishing, horseback riding, camping, and much wildlife within the park. The reservoir and dam were built by the Army Corps of Engineers, as a response to a disastrous flood that occurred in 1965, and they own and operate it. In addition to flood control it serves as one of the water supply sources for the city of Denver. Construction of the project was begun in 1967 and completed in 1975.


The dam measure approximately 13,136 feet in length, with a maximum height of 147 feet.


The water has a controlled release into the South Platte River on the other side of the dam.


Although it is sad to see many of the park's amenities flooded, as you can see in the photo collage above, I am glad that the reservoir and dam were built so that the combination of excessive rain and snow melt is not causing the South Platte River to flood. Although the river is running high, so far everything is well controlled. It is sad to see the same storm system has brought so much flooding and loss of life in  the state of Texas and Oklahoma, and the state of California which is suffering a severe drought is not getting any of this rainfall.  My house sump pumps has been working overtime, and I heard a couple neighbors ,who did not have a sump pump, got some water in their basements.  When it rains heavily for hours, flash floods can happen quickly!


Even with the bad weather there is still beauty to be seen. We spotted a couple of pelicans asleep on a log in the Chatfield Reservoir lake. They enjoy catching the large and small wide mouth bass, crappies, lake trout and walleye fish that live in the lake.   Over 200 species of birds live or migrate through Chatfield, which makes it a favorite destination for bird watcher's


In my neighborhood, around 7 miles away from the Chatfield Reservoir, we are seeing the creeks and gulches flowing heavily with water from all the rain and mountain snow melt. Everything in our valley is so beautifully green from all the moisture.  New life is abundant in Spring, and along a trail I spotted a deer, lying under a lilac tree, who was about to give birth!


One thing for sure, a month of rain makes one yearn for and anticipate seeing blue skies and the shining sun to appear again! I will appreciate the beautiful weather of summer even more than ever this year.

How has the weather been in your area this Spring?


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30 comments:

From the Kitchen said...

We've been lucky so far--just the right amount of rain to please the plants and keep the grass green. I feel so bad for those in Texas who have been devastated by flooding. I hope Colorado will be able to reap the benefits of the rain without much flooding.

Best,
Bonnie

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, I think too much rain is a little better than no rain at all. California has been too dry for too long. We are short on rainfall here too. I love the pelicans and the cute deer. I am glad you are safe from the floods and your sump pump is working well. The photos are amazing. Take care and have a happy new week!

Parsimonious Perfection said...

The photos are gorge....please take some of your rain and the terrible flood in Texas and send it our way here in CA, we need it! Colorado is always beautiful, miss it.....

Pamela Gordon said...

Pat, you certainly have had a lot of rain there this spring. I'm glad you are safe so far and that you have a sump pump. They come in handy and we have one too. Our weather has been a mix of sunny hot days (warmer than usual for May) and rain so we are doing well here. Take care.
Blessings, Pam

Lea Ann said...

Being one of those Avid birdwatchers who frequents Chatfield, this is the first time that I can remember living here that I've not been there to hike. It flooded many years ago and we even went out just to sight see. Glad to see your photos. I think they're going to purposely flood Chatfield soon anyway …. to hold more water. Those areas will be under water for good.

podso said...

We are heading into a rainy week, but a whole month of rain is a lot. It looks green in the newness of spring. Hope it evens out soon. Have a good week!

Michelle said...

We had quite a bit of rain during the early part of spring. The weather pattern has settled down, for now. I hope yours does too.

The Gathering Place said...

We have had a lot of rain here, too. So far we haven't had any flooding, thank goodness. The last few days have been sunny and warm so maybe the storm season is over. I hope Colorado is finished,d too.

La Petite Gallery said...

My Mom used to say,
"you never miss the water till the well runs dry."
This has been a terrible year for weather.
If you look at earth like a balloon,what happens
when you let the air out?
We are sucking the life out of this planet.
Glad you are safe and hope the weather clears up soon.
Great photo's.
yvonne

SmilingSally said...

Hello Pat,

In Florida, we celebrate rain--or rather showers because our grass stays green. However, I'm sure glad that you have a good thing to appreciate about rain. (Come on flowers!)

Thanks for playing today.

Have a Beautiful Blue Monday!

Marie C said...

Been keeping an eye on all the bad weather! So sorry for what you have been getting in Colorado! You got some good pictures...love the deer. Yes, new life begins even in disaster, and spring finally made itself known!

Linda H said...

Yes weather patterns lately have been crazy. We had a long nasty winter, and a long cool wet spring. A freak storm last week gave us flash flooding,washouts, power outages, etc. I too long for more sunny sky days! Love all your photos.

ladyfi said...

Love those moody skies!

Donna said...

And we have the opposite problem...a wet early spring with the usual flooding but then a drought...we finally got about 5 inches of rain in 36 hours here so I am happy....I am glad you are getting a break in the weather and that the flooding hasn't been too bad.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

A lot of flooding this year in locations that previously had drought. This has been our driest spring in a long time, we may be back in the drought cycle ourselves.
I hope the rain eases up and you can start to enjoy summer weather soon Pat.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

happywonderer.com said...

Beautiful photos of nature, Pat! Glad the drought is over and that the water wasn't too devastating. Glad you have a sump pump, too.
We have been unseasonably dry in the Pacific NW. We have rain today and tomorrow for a nice change. At least I don't have to water. Have a good week!

Sylvia said...

Pat, wishing you much sunshine! Sylvia D.

Gemma Wiseman said...

The flooded reservoir is quite a haunting sight.

Annesphamily said...

Always great photo shares! Colorado has had it's share of flooding. I hate the fact that often they will take our water to Nevada and California. This season has been nothing last last year where so many lost their lives and others lost their businesses. We seem to have plenty or not! Most everyone everywhere is dealing with some kind of crazy weather. I for one, do not like these ultra hot days either! Too early for 90 degree temps here. I am just happy our roofer put our new roof up before the rains came back last week. You have a great week Pat, thanks for sharing.

NC Sue said...

Lovely photos! Thank you so much for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/06/nesting.html

LV said...

Yes, I understand the storms and rain. In live in Fort Worth, Tex. We are finally seeing the sun, but it has been much too long getting here.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Great photos. I'm glad the drought is over for you. Maybe some of the El Nino weather will surprise us in California this summer. Some scientists predict we may see it in October. Best wishes to you.
Take 25 to Hollister

Molly said...

Stunning broody moody sky in some of these

Mollyxxx

Latane Barton said...

So glad you have been getting rain. So many places have been so dry but then, so many have flooded. Wish we could just have it like we want it and not how Mother Nature determines.

Vee said...

May was warmer than average. The last three days were rainy and cold 40s and today is pale sun and 60F. I do not like days and days of rain. It does nothing for my mood nor my joints. How are you feeling after so many days in a row of wet weather? My sump pump ran steady for the first half of May getting rid of snow melt and damp basement walls. It's back working again because of The recent rain. The skies sure do look broody. Hope that you get some strong sun to dry out by.

edenhills said...

The weather certainly does seem to go from one extreme to the other. I do hope you stay safe.

Mary Cromer said...

Lots of extreme weather changes and it is all so discouraging when mankind does not realize that we are to blame for much of it. I always hate hearing about these natural disasters, so sad, so frightening Your images are eye opening~

ladyfi said...

What lovely shots.

La Petite Gallery said...

Hi Pat, thanks for the comment. Crazy weather here it is June 4th and 40 degrees
this AM. They said it would be Sunny. Come on Sun. We had a week of rain.
After this winter I need SUN.
yvonne

fredamans said...

Wonderful sky collection! I love the deer too!