Spring Warm-Up Triggers First Floods Of Season In Rural Elk Mountain

Elk Mountain is reporting the first spring flood in Wyoming this year. Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day said there’s probably more to come.

Wendy Corr

April 17, 20232 min read

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Floodwaters have begun to wreak havoc in parts of Wyoming.

A slough behind the town of Elk Mountain near the Medicine Bow River spilled over its banks Sunday, causing water to run down the streets of town and into garages, basements and barns.

A Facebook post and video show images of the high water that town workers spent Sunday night laying out sandbags and attempting to divert away from buildings and homes.

“The snowmelt going into the Medicine Bow River went up significantly over the weekend,” said Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day, adding that the slough that helps to divert water from the river also became blocked by ice and snow.

“There's huge snow drifts and still just a lot of snow there at the base of Elk Mountain,” said Day.

This Is Just the Beginning

Day said this is the first situation in which houses and other buildings have been impacted by flooding this spring. 

“As you know, it got super warm last week, and then it cooled off, and then it started to warm up again,” he said. “And every time we have these warm-ups, we’re going to have a lot of water coming down.”

Day explained that Wyoming is at the point of the season in which infrastructure put in place to mitigate spring flooding gets tested. 

“The places where the high water comes in, even in small rivers and bigger creeks, you're going to have the risk of localized flooding,” he said.

Day encourages residents to keep an eye on nearby waterways as temperatures rise.

“When we go through these warm periods, if you're nearby a creek, river or stream, you're going to want to elevate your watching,” he said, adding that the National Weather Service has a number of resources to keep people informed.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Elk Mountain Town Clerk Heidi Hess told Cowboy State Daily that the situation is well under control.

“The Public Works Department of the town of Elk Mountain and the Wyoming Department of Transportation have been working very, very busily today,” she said. “It was really great, how the community came together and helped each other out on that part of town.”

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter