Mar 17 2014

A Few Good Reads (3/17/14): Flooding with Ice Debris in Montana and Wyoming and Google ‘River View?”

This week: Flooding and ice debris in Montana and Wyoming, flooding in Swaziland that kills 8 people, current snowpack for Colorado, Google “River View,” and the Folsom Dam massive spillway gates on the way to installation.

The picture above was a bit dumbfounding to me – flooding in the winter with significant ice debris on the floodplain! As far as I was able to find out, it looked like the end of the week did not see additional flooding although I saw there was a flood warning over the weekend in Montana but in a different county further west.

Crews Assess Flood Damage in Montana, Wyoming (ABC News)

Water levels began to drop on flooded rivers in Montana and Wyoming on Tuesday, and authorities scrambled to restore road access for hundreds of people left isolated by high waters.

Recent floodwaters have damaged numerous homes and business in both states, and some Montana residents living close to the Musselshell River remained evacuated.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that rising temperatures later this week could again increase the runoff from melting snow in some areas.

Taking advantage of the lull, crews hurried to shore up sandbag flood defenses around Manderson, Wyo., and Roundup, Mont.

Eight Die in Swaziland Floods (FloodList)

Heavy rains affecting South Africa and Mozambique over the last two weeks have also caused damage and casualties in the small landlocked kingdom of Swaziland, situated between the two countries. Bridges and roads have been damaged by the resulting floods, with at least ten rivers overflowing.

According to police reports, eight people have died in flood-related incidents in various parts of the kingdom.

The snowpack dips a little for the South Platte but still is hovering in the 140% range. Will there be a wet close to March or a wet April like last year?

Snowpack news (% of normal): Upper Rio Grande River Basin = 86%, South Platte still on top = 144% (Coyote Gulch)

Statewide the snowpack is 116 percent of median, with February’s precipitation total reaching 133 percent of average. Last year in March snow pack was 161 percent of median. In 2014, the reservoir storage percentage sits at 87, in contrast to 67 recorded in 2013.

Google Street View now Google River? This looks pretty amazing in its potential if they can keep adding rivers!

American Rivers and Google Maps launch Colorado River Street View! (American Rivers)

For the first time, you can explore 286 miles of the Colorado river and the iconic Grand Canyon in full 360-degree photo spheres. Cool trivia — this marks the first time Google Maps has used the Street View technology on a major whitewater river in the U.S. – See more at:

   Big Folsom Dam spillway gate resting in Dunnigan before final trek(Sacramento Bee)

The billion-dollar project at Folsom Dam is intended to double the dam’s flood-protection rating to shield the Sacramento region from the biggest storms on the American River.

The gate is expected to arrive at Folsom Dam between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Friday. From the Dunnigan area tonight the big load will continue down I-5 to Highway 80 and then down Madison Avenue toward the dam.

There are actually two gates for each of the six openings in the new spillway. The primary gate, called a tainter gate, rotates in an arc to control water releases into the new spillway. These gates are exposed to water pressure from the reservoir at all times. The secondary structure, called a bulkhead gate, is installed just upstream of the tainter gates. It is a flat panel that is lowered into a slot only when it is necessary to access the tainter gates for maintenance.

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