flood

Irina Zhorov

The potentially record-breaking snow storm hitting southeastern Wyoming is causing major impacts to travel and infrastructure. I-80 is closed between Laramie and Cheyenne, and Eastbound lanes of that interstate are closed between Laramie and Rock Springs. Several smaller highways in southern Wyoming have also closed due to winter conditions.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

  

After heavy snowfall this winter, mountain snowpack is above average around most of Wyoming. Communities near the Bighorn, Wind River, and Gros Ventre mountain ranges have already seen flooding, and with temperatures continuing to rise more flooding could be in store. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with Diana Herrera, FEMA’s senior flood insurance specialist for Region 8 which encompasses the Rocky Mountain west, about how to prepare for potential flooding.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Wyoming has already seen ice jam flooding this winter on the Bighorn River, and flood watches and warnings have been issued for communities around the Western Mountains in the last few weeks. With sustained warm temperatures and high snowpack, flooding could continue to be a problem this spring.

Diana Herrera is the senior flood insurance specialist with FEMA Region 8, which encompasses the Rocky Mountain West. She said people should be aware of their risk for flooding, and that there are a number of things that can reduce that risk.

SFC McGuire

Flooding may lead to evacuations in some Wyoming communities this week. Rapid snowmelt and heavy rain have brought the North Platte and Laramie rivers to flood levels.  Kelly Ruiz with Wyoming Homeland Security says Saratoga, on the west side of the Snowy Range, will be hardest hit.

“Right now, the National Weather Service is predicting that the North Platte River at Saratoga, they’re predicting it to be at 10.58 on Friday.  And that’s a record level of water.  The previous record was set in 2011 at 10.49.”