200 S. Spruce Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
P.O. Box 20,000
Grand Junction, CO 81502-5001
Please click on the titles to view additional information on Flood Safety.
Before the Flood...
- When Moving to a New Area, check with the local floodplain manager to see if you are in an area susceptible to flooding.
- Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and no refrigeration. Regular gas and electric service may be disrupted.
- Keep a portable radio, batteries, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order with additional batteries.
- Keep first aid supplies and any medicines needed by members of your family on hand.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
- If you live in an area subject to flooding, keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber handy for emergency levee construction.
- Store drinking water in closed, clean containers. Water service may be interrupted.
- If flooding is likely and time permits, move essential items and furniture to upper floors of your house. Disconnect any electrical appliances that can't be moved - but don't touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
- FEMA Prepare for Flooding
Disaster and Emergency Planning
FEMA Make a Plan
If you are warned to evacuate your home and move to another location temporarily, there are certain things to remember to do. Here are the most important ones:
- Follow the Instructions and Advice of Your Local Government. If you are told to evacuate, do so promptly.
- If you are instructed to go to a certain location, go there - DON'T go anywhere else.
- If certain travel routes are specified or recommended, use those routes rather than trying to find short cuts of your own.
- If you are advised to shut off your water, gas, or electric service before leaving home, do so.
- Also, find out on the radio where emergency housing and mass feeding stations are located, in case you need to use them.
- Keep tuned to your radio or television station for advice and instructions from local government on where to obtain medical care, where to get assistance for such necessities as housing, clothing, and food, and how to help yourself and the community to recover.
Flood Warning System
National Weather Service offices issue three types of flash flood products: a Flash Flood Watch, Flash Flood Warnings, and a Small Stream and Urban Flood Advisory. A Flash Flood Watch means that heavy rains occurring or expected to occur may soon cause flash flooding in certain areas. Citizens should be alert to the possibility of a flood emergency, which will require immediate action.
The local National Weather Service Offices, along with Regional Weather Service River Forecast Centers, issue FLOOD FORECASTS AND WARNINGS when rainfall is enough to cause rivers to overflow their banks or when melting snow combines with rainfall to produce flooding. Flood Warnings are forecasts of impending floods and are given to you by radio, television, and local government through the Office of Emergency Management and by the National Weather Service. The warning message tells the expected severity of flooding (minor, moderate or major), the affected river or stream, and when and where the flooding will begin. Careful preparation and prompt response will assure personal safety and reduce property loss.
Local Flood Hazard
The Colorado River is a high risk flood area near Grand Junction and along interstate 70 from Rulison to DeBeque. Flooding of the Colorado River also threatens Fruita, Mack, and Cameo. Flooding of Plateau Creek and Buzzard Creek threatens the towns of Collbran, Plateau City, Molina, and Mesa. There is also the potential for flash flooding on many of the smaller streams located in Mesa County, which include Buzzard Creek, West Creek, Roan Creek, and Mesa Creek. Those areas potentially impacted are listed above and include Unaweep Canyon, Colorado National Monument area down into the Redlands, John Brown Canyon, No Thoroughfare Canyon and Lamplite park.
There are a number of dams located in Mesa County: thirty-five Class II and fifteen Class I.
- The Class I dams are: Big Creek #3 (Y), Bonham-Wells (Y), Cottonwood #1 (Y), Cottonwood #2 (Y), Cottonwood #4 (Y), Cottonwood #5 (Y), Hallenbeck #1 (Y), Indian Wash Detention (Y), Jerry Creek #2 (Y), Junita (Y), Leon Lake (Y), Parker Basin #1 (Y), Parker Basin #3 (Y), Upper Highland (N), Vega (Y).
- A failure of Vega Reservoir (Class I) would inundate ranches from the base of the dam through the town of Collbran. Failure of Granby Dam, located in Grand County, would inundate Interstate 70 and U.S. 6 & 24 from DeBeque to Palisade. Failure of the Dillon Dam, in Summit County, would inundate the same areas.
Visit the Mesa County Floodplain Maps to view the Floodplain areas.
Mesa County Land Development Code requires all developments in a FEMA Regulatory Floodplain to obtain a floodplain development permit.
Special Advice on Flash Floods
In many areas, unusually heavy rains or dam failure may cause quick or "flash" floods. Small creeks, gullies, dry stream beds, ravines, culverts, or even low-lying ground frequently flood quickly and endanger people, sometimes before any warning can be given. Examples: Rapid City, 1972; Big Thompson Canyon, 1976, Fort Collins, 1997; Manitou Springs and La Junta, 1999. Dam Failure: Lawn Lake Dam (Estes Park), 1982.
National Weather Service offices issue three types of flash flood products: a Flash Flood Watch, Flash Flood Warnings, and a Small Stream and Urban Flood Advisory. A Flash Flood Watch means that heavy rains occurring or expected to occur may soon cause flash flooding in certain areas. Citizens should be alert to the possibility of a flood emergency, which will require immediate action. A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding is occurring or imminent on certain streams or designated areas. Those in the warning area should respond immediately.
Never Attempt to Outrun a Flood in Your Vehicle.
Abandon the vehicle and climb to safety. If you are in a canyon, attempt to reach high ground by climbing directly up the canyon sides.
Abandon Stalled Vehicles in Flooded Areas if you can do so safely.
Flood waters may rise and sweep the vehicle and occupants away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to either outrun a flood or to move a stalled vehicle.
Never Try to Drive Through Flooded Areas.
Remember that it only takes 18 to 24 inches of moving water to move an auto. If an area is flooded, take an alternate route to reach your destination. The depth of the flood waters will be unknown, the road may be undermined and a current may exist which could sweep your vehicle away. Many deaths have occurred by people trying to drive through flooded areas.
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes -- People With Disabilities - Disaster Safety
Please to be sure to practice drills and create / update household Emergency Access Plans
Turn around, don't drown
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream. Many of these drownings are preventable. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and trucks. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.