A flood advisory has been issued for the La Plata River near Hesperus as rising temperatures and increasing snowmelt have pushed the river toward flood stage.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction said flows along the La Plata River will remain near to slightly above the bank throughout the rest of the week, with the possibility for minor lowland flooding.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, a river gauge measured the flow of the La Plata River at 5 feet. A flood stage for the waterway is considered 5½ feet.
The NWS urged caution for anyone walking near the river and advised people to avoid flooded areas and unstable riverbanks.
Streams and rivers across Southwest Colorado are on the rise this week as snowmelt in the high country of the San Juan Mountains begins to melt in earnest with the arrival of high daytime and overnight temperatures.
The Animas River in Durango was flowing at about 1,500 cubic feet per second Saturday. As of Tuesday morning, the river had reached more than 5,000 cfs and is expected to peak around 7,000 cfs later in the week.
Butch Knowlton, director of La Plata County’s Office of Emergency Management, said Monday that the Animas River begins to spill out onto some areas of the Animas Valley around 7,000 cfs.