May 22, 2023 |

Photo – North Platte River – Bigfoot99 file photo

As snow continues to melt from higher elevations, rivers and streams will keep rising, according to the National Weather Service.

Last winter was one of the snowiest on record. Knowing all that snow had to go somewhere, Carbon County’s Emergency Manager Lenny Layman began working with municipalities on flood preparations. Layman has arranged online meetings between towns, representatives from the state, and the National Weather Service twice a week. The bi-weekly conversations allow everyone to stay up-to-date on the latest river conditions and request any needed support from Layman and the Office of Emergency Management.

National Weather Service Senior Hydrologist from Cheyenne Tony Anderson said forecast models predicted that the North Platte River in Saratoga will reach minor flood stage tomorrow.  During Friday’s call, Anderson said the river was at 8.4 feet. Continued snow melt from the mountains is expected to raise the water level by another inch.

The North Platte receded a bit over the weekend but is expected to climb to a minor flood level of 8.6 feet by this Friday. The Little Snake River is over 6.5 feet, putting the river at the flood action stage.

Layman has designated emergency managers for the most flood prone towns in Carbon County. Baggs, Saratoga, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow, and Encampment’s emergency managers attended Friday’s call. At this point, Layman is concerned mostly about flooding in Baggs and Saratoga.

Jared Wille, emergency manager for Baggs, said the Little Snake River was high, but holding steady. Wille said the high water table was beginning to cause water to pool on low lying surfaces, but nothing was damaged.

Sergeant Tyler Christen is Saratoga’s emergency manager. Sgt. Christen said he is keeping a close eye on the North Platte River, but had nothing new to report on Friday.

Each town’s emergency manager said they had sufficient sandbags. None of the towns requested any additional support.

Layman hosts the flooding conference calls twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. He said towns may request more frequent meetings if they feel it is necessary. Layman said he would facilitate any outside assistance the towns need to combat the rising water.

Officials from around the county indicate that they are prepared for what’s still to come.  Any concerns will be addressed during tomorrow’s call.

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