Jun 222010
Authors: Rachel Childs

Editor’s Note: In this article, the Collegian inaccurately reported that Christine Beltram, of Santa Fe, N.M., died in the Poudre river on June 2. Beltram died on June 2, 2008. The Collegian regrets its error.

Recent flooding along the Poudre River that closed several roads and took one life is receding, according to county experts and United States Geological Surveys, but caution is still a priority.

The U.S. Geological Survey shows the water level is still declining, but high temperatures and heavy rains could affect the current measurements.

Water levels reached the highest since 1999 as a result of melted mountain snow and heavy rains, said Terry Walker, director of Windsor Public Works. County Roads 13 and 17 going through Windsor opened after being shut down for several days due to high water levels.

Weld County experienced several road closures due to flooding, but most have reopened. 71st Avenue, from C Street to O Street in Greeley, will be closed until Friday, said Jerry Pickett, Greeley streets superintendant. No permanent damage is expected.

“I don’t know of a single building that has been damaged,” said Weld County Public Works engineer Dave Bauer. 

“Right now the flooding is done,” Walker said.

River flow reached 4900 cubic feet per second but has slowed to a comfortable 2400 cfs this past week.
Fast flow made business more thrilling for Brad Modesitt, CEO of Mountain Whitewater Descents.

The company takes 7,000 to 8,000 trips up the Poudre River per year and offer trips as long as two days. The flooding created more of a thrill for rafters.

“It made it really high and really fun as long as we were prepared,” Modesitt said.

Safety was of the utmost importance.

MWD equipped everyone with life jackets and followed groups with safety boats. Modesitt remembered pulling one woman out of the water after she fell while riding a class IV rapid.

“She was pretty excited that we had our safety boats out there,” Modesitt said.

People tubing and rafting on their own face even more dangers.

Christine Beltram, of Santa Fe N.M., died in the river on June 2 after her inner tube flipped over from the high water levels and faster-than-normal flow. She was not wearing a life jacket when she fell and drowned in the frigid water.

Fort Collins Flood Plan administrator Brian Varrella also cautioned people to keep a safe distance from the river in order to prevent accidents.

“Giving the river some space is a good idea,” Varella said.

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Poudre river facts by the numbers

Last recorded high levels for the Poudre River, a result of melted mountain snow and heavy rains

(Cubic feet per second) Rate of river flow this season. It has now returned to 2,400 cfs in the past week.

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